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Solar power in Spain

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Title: Solar power in Spain  
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Subject: Growth of photovoltaics, Solar energy in the European Union, Solar power by country, Concentrated solar power, List of monitored photovoltaic power stations
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Solar power in Spain

The 150 MW Andasol solar power station is a commercial parabolic trough solar thermal power plant, located in Spain. The Andasol plant uses tanks of molten salt to store solar energy so that it can continue generating electricity even when the sun isn't shining.[1]
The first three units of Solnova in the foreground, with the two towers of the PS10 and PS20 solar power stations in the background.
Solar radiation map of Spain

Spain is one of the most advanced countries in the development of solar energy, and it is one of the European countries with the most hours of sunshine. In 2008 the Spanish government committed to achieving a target of 12 percent of primary energy from renewable energy by 2010 and by 2020 expects the installed solar generating capacity of 10,000 megawatts (MW).[2] Spain is the fourth largest manufacturer in the world of solar power technology and exports 80 percent of this output to Germany.[3] Spain added a record 2.6 GW of solar power in 2008,[4] increasing capacity to 3.5 GW.[5] Total solar power in Spain was 3.859 GW by the end of 2010 and solar energy produced 6.9 terawatt-hours (TW·h), covering 2.7% of the electricity demand in 2010. By the end of 2012, 4.516 GW had been installed, and that year 8.169 TWh of electricity was produced.[6]

Since 2010, Spain has been the world's leader in concentrated solar power (CSP), and by the end of 2012 had installed over 2,000 MW of CSP.

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 Royal Decree 436/2004 equalized conditions for large-scale solar thermal and photovoltaic plants and guaranteed feed-in tariffs.[7] In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the Spanish government drastically cut its subsidies for solar power and capped future increases in capacity at 500 MW per year, with effects upon the industry worldwide.[8]


  • Solar thermal power plants 1
  • Photovoltaics 2
  • Policies, laws and incentives 3
    • New building codes 3.1
    • Subsidy reductions 3.2
  • Research and development 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Solar thermal power plants

The 11 megawatt PS10 solar power tower produces electricity from the sun using 624 large movable mirrors called heliostats.
Three Solar Towers from left: PS20, Eureka, PS10.
Solar Towers from left: PS10, PS20.

In March 2007, Europe's first commercial concentrating solar power tower plant was opened near the sunny Andalusian 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.[3]

The Andasol 1 solar power station is Europe’s first parabolic trough commercial power plant (50 MWe), located near Guadix in the province of Granada, also in Andalusia (the plant is named after the region). The Andasol 1 power plant went online in November 2008, and has a thermal storage system which absorbs part of the heat produced in the solar field during the day. This heat is then stored in a molten salt mixture and used to generate electricity during the night, or when the sky is overcast.[9]

A 15 MWe solar-only power tower plant, the Solar Tres project, is in the hands of the Spanish company SENER, employing 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.[7]

Solar thermal power plants designed for solar-only generation are well 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.[7]

Abengoa Solar began commercial operation of a 20-megawatt solar power tower plant near Seville in late April, 2009. Called the PS20, the plant uses a field of 1,255 flat mirrors, or heliostats, to concentrate sunlight on a receiver mounted on a central tower. Water pumped up the tower and through the receiver boils into steam, which is then directed through a turbine to produce electricity. The new facility is located adjacent to one with half its capacity, called PS10, which was the world's first commercial solar power tower plant. According to Abengoa Solar, the new facility is exceeding its predicted power output.[10]

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants
Name of Plant DC
Peak Power (MWp)
Capacity factor Completed
PS10 10 2007
Andasol 1 50 2008
PS20 20 2009
Eureka 2 2009, June[11]
Andasol 2 50 2009
Puerto Errado 1 1.5 2009
Puertollano 50 2009
La Risca 50 2009
Extresol 1 50 2010
Extresol 2 50 2010
La Florida 50 2010, July
Majadas 50 2010, August
Solnova 1 50 2010
Solnova 3 50 2010
Alvarado I 50 2010
Solnova 4 50 2010
La Dehesa 50 2010, November
Palma del Rio 2 50 2011
Manchasol 1 50 2011
Manchasol 2 50 2011
Gemasolar 20 2011
Palma del Rio 1 50 2011
Lebrija 1 50 2011
Andasol 3 50 2011
Helioenergy 1 50 2011
Astexol 3 50 2011
Arcosol 50 50 2011
Termosol 50 50 2011
Helioenergy 2 50 2012
Valle 100 320 2012
Puerto Errado 2 30 2012
Aste 1A 50 2012
Aste 1B 50 2012
Moron 50 2012
Helios 1 50 2012, May
Solaben 3 50 2012, June
Guzman 50 2012, July
La Africana 50 2012, July
Olivenza 1 50 2012, July
Helios 2 50 2012, August
Extresol 3 50 2012, August
Orellana 50 2012, August
Solaben 2 50 2012, October
Solarcor 1 50 2012
Solarcor 2 50 2012
Termosolar Borges 25 2012, December


Photovoltaic power
PV capacity in watts per capita by autonomous communities in 2013[12]
  <1 watt
  1—10 watts
  10—50 watts
  50—100 watts
  100—200 watts
  200—350 watts
  350—500 watts
  500—750 watts
  >750 watts

Photovoltaics (PV) convert sunlight into electricity and many solar photovoltaic power stations have been built in Spain.[13] As of November 2010, the largest PV power plants in Spain include, the Olmedilla Photovoltaic Park (60 MW), Puertollano Photovoltaic Park (47.6 MW), Planta Solar La Magascona & La Magasquila (34.5 MW), Arnedo Solar Plant (34 MW), and Planta Solar Dulcinea (31.8 MW).[13]

BP Solar begun constructing a new solar photovoltaic cell manufacturing plant at its European headquarters in Tres Cantos, Madrid.[14] For phase one of the Madrid expansion, BP Solar aimed to expand its annual cell capacity from 55 MW to around 300 MW. Construction of this facility was underway, with the first manufacturing line expected to be fully operational in 2009.[14] The new cell lines would use innovative screen-printing technology. By fully automating wafer handling, the manufacturing lines would be able to handle the very thinnest of wafers available and ensure the highest quality.[14] Thin wafers are of particular importance since there has been a silicon shortage in recent years. However, after the new national law limiting installed power by year, in April 2009 BP Solar is closing its factories.[15]

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.[14]

Photovoltaic growth in Spain since 1992. Capacity in megawatts (MW).[16]
Spain's largest photovoltaic (PV) power plants[13]
Name of Plant DC
Peak Power (MW)
/year [13]
Capacity factor Notes
Olmedilla Photovoltaic Park 60 85 0.16 Completed September 2008
Puertollano Photovoltaic Park 47 2008
Planta Solar La Magascona & La Magasquila 34.5
Planta Solar Dulcinea[13] 31.8 Completed 2009
Merida/Don Alvaro Solar Park 30 Completed September 2008
Planta Solar Ose de la Vega 30
Arnedo Solar Plant 30 Completed October 2008
Merida/Don Alvaro Solar Park 30 Completed September 2008
Planta Fotovoltaico Casas de Los Pinos 28
Planta solar Fuente Álamo 26 44 0.19
Planta fotovoltaica de Lucainena de las Torres 23.2 Completed August 2008
Parque Fotovoltaico Abertura Solar 23.1 47 0.23
Parque Solar Hoya de Los Vicentes 23 41 0.20
Huerta Solar Almaraz 22.1 Completed September 2008
Parque Solar El Coronil 1 21.4
Solarpark Calveron 21.2 40 0.22
El Bonillo Solar Park 20 Completed October 2008
Huerta Solar Almaraz 20 Completed September 2008
Granadilla de Abona Photovoltaic Park 20 Completed 2008
Planta solar fotovoltaico Calasparra 20
Planta Solar La Magascona 20 42 0.24
Beneixama photovoltaic power plant [17] 20 30 0.17 Tenesol, Aleo and Solon solar modules with Q-Cells cells
Planta de energía solar Mahora 15 Completed September 2008
Planta Solar de Salamanca 13.8 n.a. 70,000 Kyocera panels
Parque Solar Guadarranque 13.6 20 0.17
Lobosillo Solar Park 12.7 n.a. Chaori and YingLi modules
Parque Solar Fotovoltaico Villafranca 12 High concentration PV technology
Monte Alto photovoltaic power plant 9.5 14 0.17
Viana Solar Park 8.7 11 0.14
Photovoltaics (MW)[18]
Autonomous Communities 2010 2011
Andalusia 765 822
Aragon 142 146
Asturias 1 1
Balearic Islands 60 66
Basque Country 20 23
Canary Islands 133 138
Cantabria 2 2
Castile-La Mancha 897 923
Castile and León 410 467
Catalonia 202 234
Ceuta and Melilla 0.1 0.1
Community of Madrid 38 48
Extremadura 492 558
Galicia 10 12
La Rioja 83 89
Navarre 142 155
Region of Murcia 357 404
Valencian Community 277 313

Policies, laws and incentives

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.[19]

Subsidy reductions

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the Spanish government drastically cut its subsidies for solar power and capped future increases in capacity at 500 MW per year, with effects upon the industry worldwide. "The solar industry in 2009 has been undermined by [a] collapse in demand due to the decision by Spain," according to Henning Wicht, a solar-power analyst.[8] In 2010, the Spanish government went further, retroactively cutting subsidies for existing solar projects, aiming to save several billion euro it owed.[4][20] According to the Photovoltaic Industry Association, several hundred photovoltaic plant operators may face bankruptcy.[21] Phil Dominy of Ernst & Young, comparing the feed-in tariff reductions in Germany and Italy, said "Spain stands out as an example of how not to do it."[22] As a result, a Spanish association of solar power producers has announced its intention to go to court over the government’s plans to cap solar subsidies. In 2014 alternative energy group NextEra filed a complaint against Spain at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.[23]

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.[24] ISFOC[25] 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.[26] Solar Concentra is the Spanish technology platform for concentrated solar power (CSP).[27] It was created 2010, and it gathers the effort of the different agents of the CPS sector in Spain.

See also


  1. ^ Edwin Cartlidge (18 November 2011). "Saving for a rainy day". Science (Vol 334). p. 922-924. 
  2. ^ "Spain expects 3,000 MW in solar plants by 2010". Environmental News Network. September 25, 2008. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  3. ^ a b "Sunny Spain to Host Europe's First Large Solar Thermal Plant". Environment News Service. June 30, 2006. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  4. ^ a b Couture, Toby D. (February 23, 2011). "Spain’s Renewable Energy Odyssey".  
  5. ^ Sills, Ben (18 October 2010). "Spain's Solar Deals on Edge of Bankruptcy as Subsidies Founder". Bloomberg Markets Magazine ( 
  6. ^ Photovoltaic Barometer
  7. ^ a b c Spain pioneers grid-connected solar-tower thermal power
  8. ^ a b Gonzalez, Angel; Keith Johnson (September 8, 2009). "Spain's Solar-Power Collapse Dims Subsidy Model".  
  9. ^ Andasol 1 Goes Into Operation
  10. ^
  11. ^ Abengoa Solar Business Group
  12. ^ "Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2014-2018". EPIA - European Photovoltaic Industry Association. p. 24. Archived from the original on 12 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  13. ^ a b c d e PV (2009). World's largest photovoltaic power plants
  14. ^ a b c d BP Solar to Expand Its Solar Cell Plants in Spain and India
  15. ^ BP Solar closes its Spanish factories
  16. ^ figures from sources listed in article growth of photovoltaics. Hover mouse over bar chart to see yearly figures in tooltip.
  17. ^ Citysolar (2007). Solar park of the superlative
  18. ^ Global Market Outlook 2016 pg. 71
  19. ^ Solar Power now Mandatory in Spain
  20. ^ Johnson, Steve (January 9, 2011). "Investors may walk after Spain’s solar cut". Financial Times. Retrieved 2011-03-01. 
  21. ^ Sills, Ben (1 August 2010). "Spain Proceeds With Plans to Cut Solar Subsidies After Talks Break Down".  
  22. ^ Wilson, Peter (March 5, 2011). "Sun setting on European solar subsidies".  
  23. ^ "U.S.'s NextEra files complaint over Spain's new renewable energy rules".  
  24. ^ General Description of the PSA
  25. ^ ISFOC website
  26. ^ website UPM - Instituto Energía Solar
  27. ^ Solar Concentra platform website

External links

  • Information for visitors to Plataforma Solar de Almería, Spain
  • Impressions Plataforma Solar de Almería, Spain
  • Andasol 1
  • Spain pioneers grid-connected solar-tower thermal power
  • Photovoltaic solar power grows fast in Spain
  • GM installs world's biggest rooftop solar panels
  • Is the Sun Setting on Solar Power in Spain?
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