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28 of March 2011 14:12

Inauguration of the largest photovoltaic solar power plant built in Spain in 2010

The solar power plant is located in the province of Badajoz. Developed with modules by the Spanish firm First Solar, it is the largest to be built in our country in 2010. It has a capacity of 26 MWp and will produce clean energy to match the consumption of close to 14,000 homes.

Yesterday saw the inauguration of “La Verilleja” Photovoltaic Solar Plant located between the municipalities of Castuera and Benquerencia de la Serena, and developed by Assyce Group, the pioneering Spanish company in photovoltaic power plant construction and energy efficiency.

Designed with a peak power of 26.4 MW covering an area of 75 ha, the plant will produce over 43 million kWh per year which is the clean energy equivalent to the yearly consumption of 13,500 homes (four-person family units). In terms of environmental benefit and in comparison with fossil fuels, the facility will prevent the annual emission of over 40,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, equivalent to the carbon sequestration capacity of a 38,500-ha Mediterranean forest.

This plant is a prime example of innovation and efficiency for this type of energy-generation facilities. It is the largest photovoltaic plant built in Spain with photovoltaic solar modules using CdTe Thin film technology, manufactured by First Solar, the world leader in this type of technology and Assyce Group’s strategic partner. CdTe thin-film technology is more efficient under real conditions and more durable than silicon-based technology owing to the low temperature coefficient at which photovoltaic cells work, especially in areas exposed to high solar radiation, as is the case of Castuera in the summer. This makes the photovoltaic solution optimum for solar projects the world over.

Further innovations Assyce Group has implemented at the plant include the use of a new 500 kW SMA transformer technique which will prevent the losses of electricity produced in conventional power stations.

Assyce Group built the photovoltaic plant in 2010, over a 12-month period in two stages. “La Verilleja I” was built in the first half of 2010; and “La Verilleja II”, got underway in July and was finished in December. Building this plant has meant an investment of approximately 100 million Euros and the employment of 200 people.

Luis Garrido, Joint Managing Director of Assyce Group, remarked, “The Castuera plant is a milestone, not only for the innovations and technology involved in it, but also because it is the largest photovoltaic plant built in our country in 2010. The renewable energy scene has changed radically in Spain, meaning it is unlikely that there will be many photovoltaic energy projects of this importance and scope […] For the past two years we have repeatedly been told that the photovoltaic option is expensive and we have seen how objections to this type of energy have steadily mounted. Nevertheless, improved technology over the past few years plus increased world production are drastically reducing costs. Today this project costs 40% less than it would have in 2008. Next year we will be in a position to cut costs by half based on the 2008 values and, in 2015, the same project may cost a mere third. There is no other energy technology in the world with this degree of falling price indices. Soon this type of energy will be the most competitive internationally, and will provide a better future of our planet.”

During his address, Luis Garrido staunchly defended the need to continue promoting renewable energy projects, such as the one developed in Castuera. “In Spain the decision was made to stop backing solar energy, just when recent world events should make us stop to think about the need to continue promoting safe, green energies that would also reduce Spain’s enormous dependence on foreign energy. Photovoltaic energy fulfils this aim: it is safe and good for the environment. Being committed to it is a genuine pledge to our country’s future.”

The inauguration ceremony was presided over by the Honourable José Luis Navarro Ribera, Minister of Industry, Energy and Environment for the Regional Government of Extremadura. Also attending were Mr Francisco Martos Ortiz, Mayor of Castuera; Mr Emilio Caballero Tena, Mayor of Benquerencia de la Serena; Mr José Luís Andrade Piñana, Director-General of Industrial Regulation and Energy Policy; Mr Luis Garrido and Mr César Fiñana, Managing Directors of Assyce Group; and Ms Angela Kanein and Mr Thomas Hopp representing the Voigt & Collegen Investment Group.

Data Sheet: “La Verilleja” Solar Power Plant

  • Peak power: 26.4 MW. Nominal power: 20 MW
  • Annual output: 43,055,020 kWh/year
  • CdTe Thin-Film Technology by First Solar
  • 337,000 solar modules installed
  • Surface area: 74.61 ha
  • 43,055 tonnes of CO2 less emitted into the atmosphere (as compared to coal as fuel).
  • Construction term: January-December 2010
  • Date of connection to the electricity grid: December 2010
  • 36 transformer stations, 500 kW SMA technology
  • Construction:
    • Started on La Verilleja I: January 2010. Connection to the electricity grid in June 2010.
    • Started on La Verilleja II: July 2010. Connection to the electricity grid in December 2010.