Solar power in Spain

Spain is one of the most attractive countries for the development of solar energy, as it has more available sunshine than any other European country. The Spanish government is committed to achieving a target of 12 percent of primary energy from renewable energy by 2010 with an installed solar generating capacity of 400 megawatts (MW). Spain is the fourth largest manufacturer in the world of solar power technology and exports 80 percent of this output to Germany. [ [ Sunny Spain to Host Europe's First Large Solar Thermal Plant] ]

Through a ministerial ruling in March 2004, the Spanish government removed economic barriers to the connection of renewable energy technologies to the electricity grid. The widely applauded Royal Decree 436/2004 equalises conditions for large-scale solar thermal and photovoltaic plants and guarantees feed-in tariffs. [ [ Spain pioneers grid-connected solar-tower thermal power] ]

Italy could be Europe's next big solar power market after Spain [] .

olar thermal power plants

In March 2007, Europe's first commercial concentrating solar power tower plant was opened near the sunny southern Spanish city of Seville. The 11 MW plant, known as the PS10 solar power tower, produces electricity with 624 large heliostats. Each of these mirrors has a surface measuring 120 square meters (1,290 square feet) that concentrates the Sun's rays to the top of a 115 meter (377 feet) high tower where a solar receiver and a steam turbine are located. The turbine drives a generator, producing electricity. PS10 is the first of a set of solar electric power generation plants to be constructed in the same area that will total more than 300 MW by 2013. This power generation will be accomplished using a variety of technologies. [ Sunny Spain to Host Europe's First Large Solar Thermal Plant] ]

Two 50 MWe solar thermal trough power plants, Andasol 1 and Andasol 2, are being promoted jointly by ACS Cobra and the Solar Millennium group in the region of Andalucia, each with a proposed 510,120 m² solar collector field and six hours’ thermal storage. The Andasol power plants will be the first of their kind in Europe. Each power plant will be capable of supplying solar electricity to as many as 200,000 people. With its collector area of 512,000 square meters per plant, it will be the largest solar power plant in the world. The Andasol-1 project obtained financial closure in May 2006 and has received a €5 million grant from the European Commission’s (EC) Fifth Framework Programme, along with financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Environment. Construction started in July 2006 and will be completed in 2008. [ Spain pioneers grid-connected solar-tower thermal power] ]

A 15 MWe solar-only power tower plant, the Solar Tres project, is in the hands of the Spanish company SENER, employing United States molten salt technologies for receiving and energy storage. Its 16-hour molten salt storage system will be able to deliver power around the clock. The Solar Tres project has received a €5 million grant from the EC’s Fifth Framework Programme.

Solar thermal power plants designed for solar-only generation are ideally matched to summer noon peak loads in prosperous areas with significant cooling demands, such as Spain. Using thermal energy storage systems, solar thermal operating periods can even be extended to meet base-load needs.

As of January 2008, there were other five solar thermal projects planned with a total expected capacity of 190 MW. [ [ Sevilla inaugura hoy el "primer encuentro internacional dedicado a la tecnología solar termoeléctrica"] sp icon]


Construction has started on a 20 MW solar photovoltaics power system in Trujillo, Cáceres. Costing €150m, the new plant will have double the output of the 10MW Bavaria Solar Park in Germany. The project will use 200 100kW units (120,000 PV modules in total), gaining the top feed-in tariff for this type of plant. [ [ Elecnor starts 20MW PV Project, Spain] ]

In addition the 20.1 MW Cádiz solar power plant is going to be built in the Guadarranque industrial park in San Roque (Cadiz). Once completed, the plant will have a production capacity of 36 GWh per year. Construction on the first stage of the plant has begun and it will cover 37 hectares and produce 12.3 MW of installed power. [ [ Endesa to Build 20.1MW Solar Energy Plant in Spain] ]

BP Solar has begun constructing a new solar photovoltaic cell manufacturing plant at its European headquarters in Tres Cantos, Madrid. [ BP Solar to Expand Its Solar Cell Plants in Spain and India] ] For phase one of the Madrid expansion, BP Solar is aiming to expand its annual cell capacity from 55 MW to around 300 MW. Construction of this facility is underway, with the first manufacturing line expected to be fully operational this year. The new cell lines will use innovative screen-printing technology. By fully automating wafer handling, the manufacturing lines will be able to handle the very thinnest of wafers available and ensure the highest quality. Thin wafers are of particular importance since there has been a silicon shortage in recent years.

Since the beginning of 2007, Aleo Solar AG has also been manufacturing high-quality solar modules for the Spanish market at its own factory in Santa Maria de Palautordera near Barcelona.

::* Under construction; ** Proposed

New building codes

New building code laws in Spain are now mandating solar hot water for new and remodeled private residences, and photovoltaics to offset some power requirements for all new and remodeled commercial buildings. The new laws also reflect increased awareness of the importance of better building insulation and the use of daylighting. [ [ Solar Power now Mandatory in Spain] ]

Research and Development

The Plataforma Solar de Almería (PSA), part of the Center for Energy, Environment and Technological Research (CIEMAT), is a center for research, development, and testing of concentrating solar power technologies. [ [ General Description of the PSA] ] ISFOC [ ISFOC website] in Puertollano is a development institute for concentrator photovoltaics (CPV) which evaluates CPV technologies at the pilot production scale to optimize operation and determine cost. Technical University of Madrid has a photovoltaic research group. [ website UPM - Instituto Energía Solar]

Major solar power companies

BP Solar

BP has been involved in solar power since 1973 and its subsidiary, BP Solar, is now one of the world's largest solar power companies with production facilities in the United States, Spain, India and Australia. []


Isofoton is the largest Spanish based PV company.

ee also

*Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change
*Deployment of solar power to energy grids
*List of renewable energy topics by country
*Renewable energy in Spain
*Solar power in the European Union
*Wind power in Spain


External links

* [ Spain pioneers grid-connected solar-tower thermal power]
* [ Photovoltaic solar power grows fast in Spain]
* [ GM installs world's biggest rooftop solar panels]

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