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Germany*s Athos breaks ground on 40MWp subsidy-free PV plant in Spain
TIMEㄩ2019-11-08    VIEWNUMㄩ35    SOURCEㄩPV-TECH

By Jos谷 Rojo Mart赤n  Nov 07, 2019 11:45 AM GMT

Image credit: Jaime Gonz芍lez / Flickr

Yet another foreign player has turned to Spain to stage a subsidy-free solar debut, bringing a newcomer to a bustling utility-scale pipeline in the Southern European state.

On Wednesday, German firm Athos Solar said its 40MWp unsubsidised solar project has broken ground in Castilla-La Mancha, a region directly to the south of capital Madrid.

In a statement, Athos explained construction got underway in late October 每 the 90-hectare greenfield site lies near the city of Albacete 每 and should take six months to conclude.

The 105,000-module PV installation is slated for grid-linking next spring and should, once operational, produce 80GWh of electricity every year.

The plant, Athos said, will boast monocrystalline modules and single-axis trackers. It will be linked to the grid via a 132kV transformer substation, moving to a 400kV counterpart at a later stage

First project in Spain, first subsidy-free venture

For Heidelberg-based Athos 每 the developer of a 150MW solar portfolio in the UK and Germany since its founding in 2009 每 this is both its first project in Spain and its first subsidy-free venture.

Christian Linder, the firm*s managing director, said the mix of tumbling solar costs with Spain*s high irradiation levels make PV plants a ※very good, sustainable§ investment decision in the country.

The firm explained that the plant*s revenues will come from either a power purchase agreement (PPA) or through direct sales to market. The returns will be ※attractive§ either way, Athos said.

According to Athos, the project will feature a 75-hectare environmental protection area, with actions implemented on biodiversity conservation and reforestation.

The firm said this week it secured the project*s rights in spring 2019, with plans to seek institutional investor buyers to sell the plant to once it has been commissioned.

Politics and construction delays mar Spain's solar boom

Athos* first solar move in Spain may be the first of a series. The firm explained it is ※currently in discussions§ to acquire further solar project rights in the Southern European state.  

The Heidelberg group linked its faith in Spain*s solar prospects to the country*s long-term clean energy targets, including a goal to reach fully renewable power generation by 2050.

The plans 每 including a 37GW-by-2030 installed PV capacity target and support to self-consumption 每 are being hindered by political deadlock, with four general elections in as many years.

Like Athos, many foreign developers are opting to sidestep government support altogether. From BayWa r.e.*s to Renovalia*s, subsidy-free ventures are becoming increasingly commonplace.

As recently analysed by PV Tech, those contracted under Spain*s 2016 and 2017 auctions to deploy gigawatts* worth of projects are struggling to hit construction deadlines, set for 2020.