Subsidy-free potential spurs Audax on to record solar play

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
There are concerns of a solar bubble in Spain. Credity: World Future Council

The aggressive solar push by until-now wind specialist Audax Renovables is being driven by a bullish outlook for subsidy-free projects in Southern Europe, the firm has told PV Tech.

Grid parity, irradiation levels and solid power prices in the region have spurred the Catalonia-headquartered utility onto a large-scale PV build-up, starting with a first 708MW foray across Portugal and Spain.

“There’s a perfect storm in the global energy sector,” said Audax global head of strategy and M&A Jaime Jaquotot when quizzed over the recently emerged deal, which will see the firm purchase electricity off a series of Portuguese and Spanish solar parks that developer WElink is currently building.

The agreement, dubbed in media reports as the world’s largest private solar PPA, foresees the signing of a physical, fixed-price 20-year PPA for each of the facilities WElink develops. The first two plants in the 708MW portfolio – the 218.8MW Solara4 and the 46MW Ourika – are being built in Portugal and will be acquired by Allianz Capital Partners once construction concludes.

The remaining projects will all be based in Spain and may or may not be purchased by Allianz, according to Jaquotot. The plan is to add a further 220MW by the end of 2019 and the remainder in 2020, he added.

“We’re originally a wind player, with 184 of our 185MW portfolio dedicated to the segment. However, given the drop in solar technology costs of recent years, we see that subsidies and auctions are no longer necessary in countries like Spain, Portugal and Italy, while prices remain high and risks lower than in Greece, Turkey or Cyprus,” Jaquotot commented.

“Our exposure to the energy retail market, with 5TW sold in the Iberian Peninsula, means we’re already one of the most active traders in the countries foreign investors are getting interested in,” he added.

In late January, concerns around grid connections and merchant risks saw speakers at the Solar Finance and Investment conference in London ponder whether a bubble is in the works in Spain; Jaquotot spoke of certain “bottlenecks” he sees with grid expansion in the country.

“From what we see, investor appetite for projects remains great – what is missing are projects themselves,” he said. “There may be many schemes with a pre-obtained interconnection point but fully authorised projects are far and few between.”

Read Next

PV Tech Premium
September 24, 2021
Concerns have been raised that new measures introduced by Spain’s government to limit windfall profits of renewable energy plants could dent investor confidence and impact the stability of the country’s solar sector.
September 23, 2021
Arizonan utility Salt River Project (SRP) and renewables company Clēnera have signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for the CO Bar Solar project that is expected to deliver between 440-480MW of power
September 17, 2021
US utility company Dominion Energy Virginia has proposed 15 new energy projects totalling 1GW of power for the state, which Dominion Energy claimed was the largest group of projects to be submitted to the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC)
PV Tech Premium
September 15, 2021
Record-breaking power prices across Europe have turned the spotlight on the role fossil fuel plants play in generating electricity and how the transition to renewables-plus-storage could lower consumer bills.
September 15, 2021
The Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN) and the Portuguese Association for the Photovoltaic Industry (APESF) have joined forces to represent Portugal's PV sector.  
September 7, 2021
A round-up of the latest news from the US solar market, including developments from Canadian Solar, EDF Renewables and Altus Power

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
BRISTOL, UK
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021