Spain: Enel, Hive Energy seek to develop more solar parks outside auction scheme

The development of large-scale solar plants has seen a resurgence in sunny southern countries such as Italy, Portugal and Spain over the past months, although no direct or indirect incentives are currently being granted to big solar parks in these countries.

In Spain, where a good number of “grid-parity” solar projects were announced over the past years, there has been an acceleration over the past months, during which several projects for big PV facilities have been approved or secured PPAs and other financial agreements.

Adding to this momentum, two more companies, Italian power utility, Enel and U.K. project developer, Hive Energy have announced they are planning to build more solar parks in southern Spain.

As for the Italian energy giant, it has submitted for approval to the regional government of Extremadura for six solar power projects with a combined capacity of 257.2 MW, according to a document published on the region’s official journal.

The six projects would be built thanks to a total investment of around €240 million, the local newspaper Hoy reports. According to the documents in the official journal, however, total construction cost for the six projects is around €166.8 million.

The plants will have each a capacity ranging from 42.8 MW to 42.9 MW, while construction costs will range from €26.5 million to €34.2 million. Three projects will be located in the municipality of Logrosán, while the remaining ones will be located in Talarrubias and Casas de Don Pedro. All of the projects were submitted by Enel Green Power España, which is Enel’s Spanish unit.

According to Hoy, these new projects are not those that the Italian group secured via its Spanish unit, Endesa in Spain’s recent auction for large-scale solar and wind projects, which was held last summer. In the auction, Endesa has obtained contracts to build around 338 MW of solar parks.

In a separate development, U.K. project developer Hive Energy has obtained preliminary approval for a 45.6 MW PV project it hopes to build in Espejo, Cordoba province, in the region of Andalusia.

“The El Salobral project will provide renewable energy to 32,000 homes and will be connected to the national grid via a 132kV Endesa substation located 500 meters from the site,” the company said in its press release. Construction on the solar park is planned to begin in late spring 2018, it added.

At pv magazine’s request, Hive Energy said that the project is planning to sell power to the spot market, and that it is now expected to get final approval from Spain’s Ministry of Energy.

The company also claims it currently owns 14 solar projects totaling 896 MW, with grid approval from Spain’s grid operator, Red Eléctrica de España (REE), and a solar pipeline of over 20 projects, with planning and construction anticipated to begin during the next two years.