Portugal's new mega solar power plant will prevent nearly 177,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year and will be able to generate enough clean electricity to power the equivalent of 200,000 homes.
The connection to the national grid was initially scheduled for the second quarter of 2019, but only now, more than two years later, “the largest photovoltaic plant in national territory” has finally received its operating license.
The announcement was made by the Directorate General of Energy and Geology (DGEG) itself, on its website: “On September 15, the operating license was issued for the Alcoutim Photovoltaic Power Plant, which becomes the largest photovoltaic power plant in the country and the largest non-subsidised power plant in Europe,” it can be read.
“This type of infrastructure is essential for Portugal to achieve the energy sector’s decarbonisation and also contributes to the renewable energy targets set out in the PNEC 2030, representing more than 1.3% of this effort with regard to the new renewable capacity of the electro-production sector,” the DGEG statement said.
This new mega solar power plant, named Solara4, will prevent nearly 177,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year and will be able to generate enough clean electricity to power the equivalent of 200,000 homes. All the energy produced there will be purchased for 20 years by the Spanish Audax, following a long-term contract (PPA) signed in 2019.
Today, four years later, the Solara4 plant will finally go into production and start injecting electricity into the grid. It thus destroys the Ourika photovoltaic plant, located in Ourique (Beja) and inaugurated in 2018, with 46 MW, which was until now the largest in the country. Before this, the title belonged for quite some time to the Amareleja plant, operating since 2008, with 45 MW of installed power.
The leap now is giant, from 46 MW at Ourika, to 219 MW at Solara4. The era of mega solar power plants has arrived in Portugal, with capacities already in the order of hundreds of MW. In the next ones to be inaugurated, resulting from the solar energy auctions of 2019 and 2020, the next target to be surpassed may already be 1 GW. It is expected that by 2030 Portugal will reach 8 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity.
For now, the largest in the country is still the Alcoutim Photovoltaic Power Plant, which occupies a discontinuous area of 320 hectares, with more than 660,000 panels installed, each with a power of about 340 W, for a total of 219 MW installed and a grid injection power limited to 200 MVA, informs the DGEG.
Connected to the electricity grid via a 400 kV private service line that connects the plant to the Tavira substation, Solara4 has 40 transformer stations and 125 inverters with an available power of 1,600 kVA.