UK developer Hive Energy has continued its international push with the announcement of new regional headquarters in Madrid – the company’s fourth overseas office to open since September 2015.
The firm says the new European location will seek to identify new solar opportunities in Spain, which it believes holds great opportunities for growth despite controversial government rulings against the technology in recent months.
Last October Spain’s energy ministry implemented new regulation for self-consumption in the form of a ‘sun tax’ on energy produced and consumed without feeding the grid.
Spain has still not formed a government despite holding general elections last year, however 227 members of parliament representing a majority have signed an agreement to remove the controversial ruling against self-consumption of solar energy within 100 days should a government be formed without the Conservative Partido Popular party. The deadline for forming a coalition was recently passed, so new elections will take place in June.
In addition to the ongoing dispute, the Spanish Constitutional Court earlier this year rejected appeals against the degression of the country’s feed-in tariff.
Despite the tension surrounding solar policies, Hive Energy claims Spain holds great potential for the technology, not least as it views the market as not dependent on subsidy.
The owner operator also claims the combination of high irradiance levels lowering costs of materials and overheads, means that Spain is likely to achieve grid parity relatively quickly.
General manager Luis Martinez Hermida will take charge of the new office, which is already looking at a number of sites which it says could generate over 300MW.
“We are focusing on the best projects in terms of technical, economical and planning feasibility. This means choosing sites with the highest irradiation, those with on site grid connections and sites that are clean and appropriately sited with respect to natural and human environments,” he said.
“Since the typical development time for a solar project in Spain is close to two years, we believe that securing and starting to develop projects now so that they will be ready by 2017/2018 will pave the way for economically viable solutions in terms of PPAs, swap or derivative options.”
The announcement of a new European location in Madrid follows the launch of new international offices in Mexico, Turkey and Dubai in recent months. A number of developers like Hive Energy have bolstered their overseas presence since the policy reset for solar in the UK, which has left government subsidies at an all-time low.
The company, which owns and operates 18MW of UK sites and 30 commercial roof systems, submitted plans for a 40MW solar farm in Hampshire in December last year. Like its strategy in Spain, the company does not plan to develop the site until 2018 at the latest. It has developed more than 300MW of solar in the UK.