Enel joins Spanish solar comeback as new 50MW project breaks ground


Image credit: Enel

Spain’s lifting of a 10-day stay-at-home obligation for construction staff earlier this month has brought another solar player to the fields, with a plant now underway in the country’s south.

On Monday, Enel Green Power España (EGPE) said it had recently broken ground on a 50MW solar project in the Andalusian province of Seville, the second of a 100MW complex it is looking to deploy near the town of Carmona.

The Endesa subsidiary is investing €28.2 million (US$30.6 million) in the second 50MW batch, known as Los Naranjos. Together with the first 50MW – the €30 million (US$32.6 million) Las Corchas, under construction since late 2019 – Enel’s 100MW complex should be ready in late 2020.

According to EGPE, the 50MW second half of Los Naranjos will feature 128,000-plus panels once complete, with individual module capacity sitting at 340Wp. The subsidiary will also handle the deployment of nine new switching stations, an electric substation and a 4.5km underground cable grid.

The construction launch sees EGPE add its name to the growing list of solar operators resuming work after Monday 13 April, when Spain ended a freeze it had enacted to limit the spread of COVID-19 across non-essential sectors.

As documented by PV Tech, the two weeks since have seen at least utility Iberdrola to EPC Solarpack, oil major Repsol and partnership Ibox Energy hit construction sites again. Some, including Ibox, have walked this publication through the COVID-19 safety measures they have rolled out.

‘No material disruption’ expected by Spain, LatAm PV player

For Spanish PV, the lifting of the 10-day freeze looks set to add more solar generation in the upcoming quarters, following the industry’s strong Q1 2020. The quarter just ended saw the industry break its own generation records in the midst of a national lockdown, official stats show.

As for Enel, the outbreak finds it looking to expand its solar portfolio in Spain and beyond. In Latin America, the firm is working on major bifacial ventures in BrazilChile and Mexico. Its São Gonçalo project in the former country, at a 600MW-plus size, has been billed as Latin America’s largest.

In late March, the firm said COVID-19 posed, as of that date, “no material disruption” to its renewable project supply chain. At an earnings call, group-wide CEO Francesco Starace said Enel did not expect any issues in 2020 beyond what “normally would have been the case”.

At a SolarPower Europe webinar weeks later, Aristotelis Chantavas, head of Europe at Enel Green Power, detailed the firm’s response to the pandemic so far and its views on what the long-term ramifications will be for European solar.

“We expect a slight impact but not significant,” Chantavas said. “What can happen is a postponing of some months with projects in countries that are seriously affected by this pandemic. There is a possible demand drop – we’ve already seen that in several countries.

“This is an opportunity for our sector to sow the need to boost demand for renewables, to create a robust European solar industrial policy. It’s important for us to guide governments to make the right interventions,” Chantavas went on to add.

PV Tech has set up a dedicated tracker to map out how the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting solar supply chains worldwide. You can read the latest updates here.

If you have a COVID-19 statement to share or a story on how the pandemic is disrupting a solar business anywhere in the world, do get in touch at jrojo@solarmedia.co.uk or lstoker@solarmedia.co.uk.

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