Spanish court orders Iberdrola to dismantle 60% of 500 MW operational PV plant


From pv magazine Spain

The High Court of Justice of the Spanish region of Extremadura has ruled that land was illegally expropriated to host the nation's largest operational PV plant, the 500 MW Nuñez de Balboa solar plant in Usagre, near Badajoz. The solar park's owner, Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, now must dismantle 60% of the facility.

The owner of the property is Natura Manager, which owns 525 hectares of the 854 hectares occupied by the solar park.

“The ruling indicates that the land cannot be expropriated, as it was already leased for a period of 25 years,” the court said. “The request for expropriation lacked cause or justification to deprive the right of property.”

The court added that the company always had the legal title to build the plant, without the need for expropriation.

“And despite this, it carried out all the actions that depended on its will to get the expropriation procedure started, when not there was no justifiable reason for it,” it ruled, noting that it also recognizes the right “to the reinstatement of the farms free of the photovoltaic plant, with all its facilities.”

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An Iberdrola spokesperson told pv magazine that the company will file an appeal with the Supreme Court of Spain. It claims that the dispute only involves one of the three owners of the project site.

“Around 50% of this land is owned by two tenants who have not raised any claim at any time and who maintain and respond to the contract signed at the time, initially, by the three owners,” the company said. “The expropriation procedure … followed the legally established procedures and respected all existing rights and guarantees.”

Iberdrola added that the plant was built under a valid and legitimate title, so it does not believe that it should be dismantled. “The facility has all the permits to produce energy and will continue to function normally,” it said.

The Nuñez de Balboa has been generating solar electricity since April 2020.

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