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Iberdrola in major Spanish solar push with trio of projects

Utility aims to build 400MW of new PV as part of wider 2.5GW development pipeline in European hot-spot

Utility Iberdrola aims to build 400MW of new solar plant in Spain, starting with the construction of the Majada Alta and Santa Antonio PV farms near the city of Cáceres in the west of the country.

The two 50MW projects will be followed by of a third, 300MW solar farm, for which the developer has secured grid access.

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Development plans for the two smaller plants, slated to be operational by 2020, are now with the regional government of Extremadura.

Iberdrola is currently building more than 2.5GW of renewable energy in Spain – 1.8GW of which is Extremadura-based solar, including the 590MW Francisco Pizarro project, the largest PV plant under development in Europe.

The company is also developing the Núñez de Balboa (500MW), Ceclavín (328MW), Arenales (150MW) and the Campo Arañuelo complex (150MW) solar farms in Spain.

Iberdrola – one of the world’s biggest wind operators and a major backer of offshore development – was until a few years an arch-sceptic concerning solar’s ability to compete with wind.

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But the company pulled a volte face in early 2017 when CEO Ignacio Galan declared: “Now solar in certain places is absolutely competitive with other sources. We change our mind on that one.”

Industry body SolarPower Europe believes the booming Spanish market might add up to 19.5GW of new PV by 2023, driven by supportive policies and emerging opportunities for corporate power production agreements – such as the recent deal between Iberdrola and Nike – is among the top seven PV market prospects globally.

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