Enel Green Power breaks ground on tender’s first 85 MW solar farm in Spain

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The Enel Green Power España (EGPE) subsidiary of the Italian multinational developer, has broken ground on its largest Spanish solar farm. The site has a system rating of 84.7 MW and is located near the town of Totana, in the Murcia region. Enel secured the rights for construction in Spain’s third renewable auction, in July 2017.

The developer says the €59 million ($69m) plant will be operational by the third quarter of 2019 and will comprise nearly a quarter of a million of modules.

“With the Totana solar PV project, the group confirms its commitment to further strengthening Spain’s generation mix, bringing the country closer to its renewable goals,” said Antonio Cammisecra, Head of Enel Green Power. “Our operations in Spain have allowed us to establish a significant presence in this important and competitive market, where we will continue to deploy our sustainable leadership.”

The solar farm is the first to be constructed from last year’s Spanish technology-neutral tenders, which allocated 3,909 MW. The park is part of the 339 MW solar project pipeline Endesa was awarded in the renewable auction held by the Spanish government in July 2017. EGPE secured the auction’s third largest share after Cobra, a unit of Spanish industrial group ACS, with 1.55 GW of projects; and X-Elio, with 455 MW.

The construction site will be the first to make use of collaborative automation systems and robotics to support the construction team. The company says the innovation can improve occupational safety, ensure higher quality and increase the accuracy and speed of construction. Through Enel’s “sustainable construction site” model, the company says the site’s energy requirements are met by solar and the local population is involved in the project.

Spain eyes a return to solar glory

Winning the bids for 339 MW of PV and an additional 540 MW of wind assets in Spain’s last two tender rounds will significantly boost EGPE’s portfolio. Once completed, the Spanish pipeline will expand the company’s portfolio by 52.4%, according to its estimates.

The Totana solar farm is the only one located in Murcia, with the other six projects planned in Extremadura. Of those, three will be in the province of Cáceres – in the municipality of Logrosán – and another three in the province of Badajoz, in the municipalities of Talarrubias and Casas de Don Pedro.

Spain’s solar market is experiencing a revival after a long hiatus. The country’s new government scrapped the unpopular “solar tax” and the use of private PPAs could see Spain reclaim its position as Europe’s largest solar market next year. A number of unsubsidized solar plants has created an additional buzz in the sector.

“Already this year we may see the first unsubsidized solar parks being connected to the grid, as a result of continuing activity in the private PPA segment,” José Donoso, president of Spanish solar association UNEF, told pv magazine at this year’s Genera renewable energy fair in Madrid.

There is an estimated 21 GW of developed – [on paper] many of which are ready-to-build – projects in Spain at the moment. For many of them, including those selected in the auction, construction may be started by the end of this year or in the first half of 2019. Over the next two or three years … Spain will become again Europe’s largest PV market.”