New heights for renewable energy generation in Spain as solar leads growth

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Image: Iberdrola.

Solar PV has been the driving factor behind the growth of Spain’s green energy sector so far this year, with renewables generation between January and September up 16.3% on the same period of 2019.

New figures from grid operator Red Eléctrica de España (REE) reveal that PV’s generation was 67.5% higher year-on-year, followed by hydropower, which was up 41.6%.

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Thanks to good weather conditions and the deployment of additional capacity, renewables made up 43.1% of total national production as of September, 7.5 percentage points more than in 2019. However, despite more than 650MW of new generation installed so far this year, wind power posted a slight decrease in generation.

The figures show solar in Spain has maintained its growth from last year, when the sector posted a record amount of installed capacity – consisting of 4,201MW of ground-mounted arrays and 459MW of distributed projects – meaning for the first time since 2008, the country was the leading PV market in Europe. The Spanish Photovoltaic Union said the build-out positions the PV sector as an engine for economic growth and job creation.

According to REE, the increase in renewables generation meant Spain’s energy system was able to reduce its amount of CO2 equivalent emissions by 28.7% in the first nine months of 2020.

The scale-up of green energy projects in Spain can be expected to grow after the country’s government earlier this year signed into law a raft of measures designed to remove barriers to the large-scale deployment of renewables.

Recent weeks have seen French oil major Total secure a development deal for 3.3GW of solar in the regions of Madrid and Andalucia, while industrial conglomerate GFG Alliance revealed plans to co-invest in Spanish solar and wind projects with a capacity of around 1.2GW.

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