Portugal pushes back solar auction to March

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From pv magazine Spain.

Portuguese minister of environment and energy transition, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, revealed on Tuesday in parliament the national solar auction set to take place this month has been pushed back to March.

The minister sugared the pill, however, by announcing another large scale solar procurement round would follow by the end of the year.

Matos Fernandes was fielding a question from Portuguese Communist Party deputy Bruno Dias during presentation of the 2020 budget when he replied: “In the first quarter, there will be a new auction to allocate solar power and some of the selected projects may include storage this time.”

Delayed

The non-aligned minister said the exercise in March would allocate 700-800 MW of solar generation capacity, indicating the tender in question was the 700 MW auction the government in May said would take place this month.

Plans have been made for another auction later in the year after the success of the nation’s first solar tender, said the minister. The government in July announced what appeared to be a world record low price for solar power of €14.76/MWh after the exercise, although the record was queried by some industry analysts.

Some 24 utility scale solar projects were allotted in 22 lots with a combined generation capacity of 1,150 MW. With two payment options available, 13 project lots – with a total capacity of 862 MW – opted for fixed tariffs with the balance choosing variable payments. The lowest, €0.0147/kWh ($0.016) tariff was bid by the Akuo Renováveis Portugal unit of French developer Akuo Energy.

Minister Matos Fernandes added, the fact Portugal has only 1.3 GW of installed solar capacity at present was another factor behind the decision to plan a second procurement round for 2020.