Iberdrola completes ‘Europe’s largest’, 500MW solar giant

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The Núñez de Balboa project during its construction. Image: Iberdrola.

Multinational utility Iberdrola has completed the giant 500MW Núñez de Balboa solar farm in Spain’s Extremadura region, claiming it to be Europe’s largest completed solar project.

Iberdrola confirmed that the site had been completed in around one year and had subsequently received its commissioning permit from Spain’s Ministry for Ecological Transition. Red Eléctrica de España, Spain’s grid operator, has now started energisation tests and operations are slated to start in Q1 2020.

Iberdrola has placing the project at the centre of a major strategy to help relaunch renewables development in Spain and deploy around 3GW of clean energy generation by 2022, the majority of which has been pegged for the Extremadura region.

Around €290 million (US$325 million) of investment has supported the project, with the utility pocketing green financing from the European Investment Bank and Spanish state financial agency Instituto de Crédito Oficial.

Núñez de Balboa spans some 1,000 hectares of land in the province of Badajoz, located in western Spain near the country’s border with Portugal.

Around 1,430,000 solar panels have been installed and the project is expected to generate some 832GWh of power each year.

Núñez de Balboa’s time as Europe’s largest solar farm stands to be short lived, however, with Iberdrola also bringing forward the 590MW Francisco Pizarro project in Extremadura. That site is slated to come online in 2022.

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