Juwi given tentative go-ahead for 450 MW Spanish solar farm


German renewable energy developer Juwi Group has finally been given approval by Spain’s Ministry of Environmental Affairs to construct a 450 MW solar PV plant in the country’s Murcia region.

The decision by the ministry to greenlight the project is regarded as an important milestone in its prolonged development – the plant has been in the planning stages since 2012 – and further authorization from Spain’s Ministry of Industry is still required before construction can begin.

Should the project go ahead, it is estimated that around 200 much-needed jobs will be created during the design, promotion and engineering phase, and a further 1,000 positions while construction is carried out.

The solar farm is planned for a 1,088 hectare site in Mula, a small municipality of the sun-rich but job-poor southeastern region of Murcia. Once completed, the finished solar plant will mitigate the effects of 135,750 tons of carbon dioxide.

Utility-scale solar development in Spain has tailed off drasitcally in the past couple of years following a serious of retrograde steps from the Spanish government, including a sharp scale-back of the feed-in tariff (FIT) in 2013.

A further pending change – Spain’s "solar tax" – was proposed at the beginning of July and seeks to apply a tax on the installation of self-consumption solar-plus stirage systems and a levy on the amount of solar power generated.

This controversial law has been layered on top of existing taxes that already apply to solar power generation, and has been faced with angry opposition, culminating in June with a 190,000-strong petition opposing the proposed law.