Iberdrola commissions Europe’s largest solar plant at 590MW, plans US$15bn renewables investment by 2025

By Tom Kenning
The project allows for sheep to graze in the area while three Ancient and Medieval archeological sites were found and safeguarded during construction. Image: Iberdrola

Iberdrola has commissioned the 590MW ‘Francisco Pizarro’ PV project in Extremadura Southwestern Spain, which is Europe’s largest solar plant.

The €300 million (US$310 million) project, which is also Iberdrola’s largest solar facility globally, is located between the municipalities of Torrecillas de la Tiesta and Aldeacentenera, Cáceres.

The company has now installed more than 19.3GW of renewable energy in Spain with a plan to reach 25GW in the coming years. It has allocated €14.3 billion (US$ 14.8 billion) to the deployment of renewables and smart grids by 2025.

The Francisco Pizarro uses 1.5 million PV modules and created more than 1,500 jobs during peak construction periods, more than half of which were for local workers.

Iberdrola has signed long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with various major corporate names to supply 100% renewable power to their factories in Spain. Signing such PPAs with the likes of Danone, Bayer and PepsiCo provides stability to such a large project.

While the project covers a significant portion of land, it has been built in a way that allows for sheep to graze in the area. The company also claimed that it took measures to improve forest wildlife habitats such as building a controlled reproduction centre for rabbit breeding, installing nesting boxes and bird feeding protection zones.

During the execution of the project, twenty rock formations with engravings and pictographs were found, alongside three archaeological sites dating from the Ancient and Medieval periods. The sites have been monitored and safeguarded by Iberdrola.

Francisco Pizarro overtakes the installed capacity of Iberdrola’s former largest plant in Spain, the 500MW Núñez de Balboa, for which the company has been ordered by a Spanish court to return part of the land of the solar plant after disputes with one of the three landowners.

Iberdrola recorded a net profit of €2.07 billion (US$2.1 billion) in the first half of 2022 due to strong performances in its international business offsetting adverse results in Spain.

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