Spain’s government and the European Union will provide funding to support the development of 65 new solar projects in the Canary Islands by the end of next year.
Plants with a combined capacity of 255MW will receive €20 million (US$24 million) in financial backing through the ‘SolCan’ programme, which is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and aims to reduce electricity prices in the archipelago.
It is expected the developments will be commissioned by the end of 2022 and “substantially increase” the contribution of solar to the islands’ energy mix.
According to Spain’s government, the Canary Islands had a 16.4% share of renewables energy in their electricity production in 2019, compared to 38.6% for mainland Spain. The total capacity of projects supported through the ‘SolCan’ programme has now increased from the original 150MW amount to 255MW.
Of the 65 projects to be backed by the scheme, 36 will be developed in Gran Canaria, 18 in Fuerteventura, six in Tenerife, four in Lanzarote and one in La Gomera.
Iberdrola announced it has secured 36.3MW of solar capacity through the scheme’s first bidding process, with the company set to develop the projects in Fuerteventura this year and in 2022.
The ‘SolCan’ programme represents the third phase of Spain’s renewable energy island programme, which saw grants worth €40 million provided to solar projects totalling 326MW in the Balearic Islands under ‘SolBal’, while wind was supported in the Canary Islands under ‘EolCan’.
Spain’s Energy Ministry said the promotion of renewables in the country’s island territories is one the objectives of its Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC), which recognises the opportunity the island areas have to establish themselves as a testing ground for technologies or policies that could be exported to mainland Spain.
It was announced earlier this year that the Canary Islands will be home to a new floating solar pilot project that will face high winds and waves of up to 10 metres. The 250kWp plant, which is being developed by a consortium of partners, will aim to certify Ocean Sun’s floating solar technology for offshore applications in non-sheltered locations.