Welink and CTIEC bag EPC contract to build 220 MW PV plant in Portugal

The signing ceremony for the 220 MW Solara4 project.

UK-based renewable energy company Welink and Chinese engineering services provider China Triumph International Engineering (CTIEC) have signed an EPC contract to build a 220 MW solar park without subsidies in Vaqueiros, in the region of Algarve, southern Portugal.

The contract for the project was signed last week by the two companies, as well Portugal’s Minister of Economy, Manuel Caldeira Cabral and the Secretary of State for Energy, Jorge Seguro Sanches.

Construction on the Solara4 project is expected to start by the end of this quarter, with completion scheduled in mid-2018.

The project’s required investment amounts to approximately €200 million ($211.8 million). “The project is financed by CTIEC and we are exploring PPAs with interested parties at present. However, even without a PPA, we are able to sell our power at pool prices and still make a success of the project,” said Welink in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Portuguese Minister of Economy Caldeira Cabral revealed that Welink will continue operating in the local market. “This is the first of a series of investments that this company wants to carry out in Portugal.”

The project, however, was criticized by local environmental association Almargem, which said it said it should have been contacted by local authorities in the process of obtaining the environmental permit and has not been contacted yet.

In Portugal, there is a large number of planned PV projects without subsidies, although none of these projects have been started to date.

Renewables covered around 60% of Portugal’s electricity demand last year. The share of solar, however, remains quite limited.

The country is now planning to increase the development of renewable energies by building an interconnection with Morocco’s electricity system. This would enable the export of power generated by renewable energies. The feasibility study for this project was awarded at the beginning of 2017.