Construction begins on Portugal’s first unsubsidized solar park

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Power distributor Axpo Ibéria, a unit of the Switzerland-based Axpo Group, has revealed construction has started on the 28.8 MW (DC) PV plant Portuguese developer Hyperion has planned near the town of Evora, in Portugal’s southern region of Alentejo.

Axpo Ibéria says the Vale de Moura project will be the first solar plant built without any subsidy in the Iberian peninsula. The power provider will buy power from the facility, whose largest shareholder is now Mirova – a unit of French financial group Natixis – through a 10-year PPA signed in January.

According to Axpo Ibéria, the plant will occupy 55 hectares and have an annual energy output of more than 52 GWh. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year and the start of commercial operations has been scheduled for the beginning of 2019.

“We are very optimistic this pioneering project will pave the way for the realization of other long-term PPAs with producers and consumers, guaranteeing more competitive prices and contributing to the development of renewable energy in Portugal,” said Axpo Ibéria General Director Ignacio Soneira.

The project, granted a financing agreement by Portugal’s Banco BPI, is one of several initiatives for unsubsidized solar projects across Spain and Portugal.

The Portuguese government recently issued a plan to support unsubsidized PV plants, having approved more 700 MW of capacity for such projects.