Acciona Energy connects massive 46-MW solar PV power plant to grid in Portugal

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What is being called the largest solar power plant of its kind was connected to the grid last week by Acciona Energy in the Alentejo region of Portugal. The 46-MWp farm, located on 250 hectares in Amareleja parish near the Spanish border, was built in 13 months and represents an investment of about €261 million by the company (which 100% owns the plant).

Acciona Solar, a subsidiary of Acciona Energy, built the Amareleja plant. The first 3 MW were installed at the end of 2007 and were connected provisionally in March 2008. The installation of the remainder of the plant’s solar field and the construction of the evacuation line were completed this year. An average of 150 employees worked on the plant’s construction, with a peak of almost 500 workers, the company said.

The solar field features 262,080 polycrystalline PV modules mounted on 2520 Buskil trackers (an in-house Acciona technology), each with a surface area of 142 square meters (13 m long by 10.87 m high).

Each tracker supports 104 polycrystalline silicon modules with a capacity of 170 and 180 Wp each, according to the company. The trackers follow the sun with an azimuthal rotation movement of 240° and a fixed inclination of 45°.

The Amareleja plant is capable of producing 93 million KW/hr annually, avoiding 89,383 tons of carbon dioxide that would have been emitted from a coal-fired power station of the same size.

The new solar power station will help to achieve the objectives in the Portuguese government’s E4 Energy Efficiency and Endogenous Energies policy and to meet the country’s greenhouse gas reduction commitments. In the case of PV power, the aim is to install 150 MWp, of which Amareleja will account for 30%.

With 68 MW of installed PV capacity and another 100 MW of concentrated solar power (CSP) under construction in Spain as well as a 64-MW CSP farm operating in Nevada (U.S.), Acciona will soon have 278 MW of solar power online in the two countries.

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