Clean Power

Published on May 17th, 2012 | by Jake Richardson


$571-Million Solar Power Plant Planned for Spain

May 17th, 2012 by  


In the western region of Spain called Extremadura, a $571-million 400 MW photovoltaic plant is being planned. Construction could begin in 2014 and should be completed in one year. Other than the large size, what is remarkable about this project is that it will receive no government subsidies. It is being planned by German and local developers. SAG Solarstrom is the German company. It makes photovoltaic systems for businesses, agriculture, and homes.

“This project will be a milestone nationally and in Europe. It will be the first of this size in Europe that will generate power without state subsidies,” said Oliver Guenther who works with SAG Solarstrom. The Badajoz-based Valsolar is its Spanish counterpart on the project. On its site, the company says Extemadura is experiencing a solar boom.

This area reportedly has one of the highest solar radiation levels in Europe. Due to these high levels, other solar power plants are also being planned there. For example, a 250-MW project from Gerlicher Solar is slated for construction in Talavan. Building will commence in 2013 and could create over 2,000 jobs.

Gerlicher Solar Espana CEO Guillermo Barea said, “I want to convey to the entire PV industry, not only in Spain but also in Europe, a message of optimism and that the sector can be competitive in the Electricity Market without subsidies. The Government support of Extremadura, our strategic capacity and the effort of my team are pushing this project to be viable in economic, technical and environmental issues.”

Extremadura is also known for producing Iberian ham, made from Wild Black Iberian pigs. These animals consume large amounts of acorns, which are believed to account for the meat’s flavor.

Source: Bloomberg &
Image Credit: Public Domain, Wiki Commons

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  • Very roughly, with a cost of $1.43 per watt I get a figure of about eight cents a kilowatt-hour for Australia. (We have higher costs of capital here.) This is getting close to our daytime wholesale electricity prices. While I still think point of use solar will be the main source of solar electricity in Australia as it is already below parity, I am still pleasantly surprised to see grid connected solar being built so cheap.

    • Bob_Wallace

      When I put $1430/MW, 6% financing, 20 years, 5.5 solar hours (23% capacity) into a LCOE estimator I get %0.6/kWh.

      I put O&M at zero, not knowing what those costs might, but they should be low.

      5.5 solar hours for the CA/AZ/NM desert. Drop it down to 5 solar hours to include the rest of the Southwest and the price rises to $0.07/kWh. Use 4.5 hours which brings the Midwest and Southeast into the mix and that area shows $0.08/kWh.

      Six to eight cents for new peak hour generation is an impressive number.

  • Dimitar Mirchev

    $1.43 /Wp is around 1,12 euro/Wp which according to the solar map:
    and this very helpful table from German wikipedia:
    means LCOE of 6 eurocents/kWh.

    • Bob_Wallace

      If those numbers are correct then solar is producing electricity at less than $0.08/kWh.

      That’s an astounding price!

    • Ross

      What assumption are you making to read an LCOE of €0.06/kWh off that table?

      If it is that low it beats the minimum LCOE of coal from the table “Regional Variation in Levelized Costs of New Generation Resources, 2016” in this doc.

      • Dimitar Mirchev

        I just assumed the numbers in the table are right. But even if they are 50%(!) off it is still a very competitive cost.

        Also I dont believe the Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2011. Historically EIA have been underestimating renewables by factors of 10 to 100. Especially when they talk about growth, projections, etc.

        • we might relabel them the Energy Disinformation Administration 😀

  • Luke

    That’s fantastic news. Like Ronald mentioned, $1.43/Watt is a rather remarkable achievement. Can nuclear get a lower price than that? Apparently not!

    Solar > Nuclear.

    • Bob_Wallace

      New nuclear (with subsidies) would likely be more than twice that cost.

  • Ross

    Finally. Some good news from Spain.

  • Wow! $1.43 a watt! This is pretty astounding news. The fact that solar PV is falling so rapidly in price is great news for the environment.

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