A "Huerta Solar" is the Spanish term for solar farm and is a grid-connected solar power plant based on several subsystems, each with their own investor.

More than 125 MW of "Huerta Solar" PV plants

Edwin Koot | www.SolarPlaza.com

More than 125 MW of Huerta Solar" PV plants
A "Huerta Solar" is the Spanish term for solar farm and is a grid-connected solar power plant based on several subsystems, each with their own investor.
More than 125 MW of "Huerta Solar" PV plants
have already been contracted in Spain
By: Edwin Koot, Director www.SolarPlaza.com

The "Huerta Solar" represents by far the most important solar energy market segment in Spain. Many more new initiatives are under development which will further strengthen Spanish market growth. A "Huerta Solar" is the Spanish term for solar farm and is a grid-connected solar power plant based on several subsystems, each with their own investor. These subsystems are usually ground-based one or two axis tracking devices that generate up to 40% more energy than fixed systems. The electricity is sold to the energy utility company for the attractive feed-in tariff guaranteed by Spanish law for 25 years.

SolarPlaza found more than 45 initiatives totalling more than 125 MW of contracted solar farm' projects for the years 2006-2008 during a brief market survey. This figure is considered to be modest since many projects currently being prepared have not resulted in any publicity as yet. It is safe to say that just in 2006 more than 27 MW of PV power plants will be built. This figure, however, could easily be much higher or even double. For 2007 at least 50 MW has already been contracted.

The "Huerta Solar" construction was invented by Acciona Solar, and is gradually becoming a familiar brand name throughout the international PV market. Acciona Solar, the company that formerly was known as Aesol, is market leader and already realised more than 24 MW during the past years. The "Huerta Solar" will be the focus of the PV Business Tour to Spain (17-22 September) organised by SolarPlaza that includes presentations, project visits, an exhibition visit and a dedicated symposium. Several of the major market players will present their experiences and plans during this "Huerta Solar" symposium.


Soltec-Renovables is one of the Spanish companies developing new Huerta Solar projects

 

Larger and larger projects

The turnkey system prices of the surveyed Huerta Solar (sub)systems range from € 4.80/Wp to € 8.40/Wp. The turnkey cost of tracking PV systems in these Huerta Solar projects (usually at least 5 kWp per system) are above the € 7.70 per watt mark. Spain's sunny regions such as Murcia and Andalusia are becoming more and more popular for the development of these solar farms because the same system will produce more kWh and hence will generate more euros per year. A new 14 MW project initiative was announced for this region on 10 July. The largest systems, however, are being planned for Tenerife, the Canary Island with the best irradiation. ITER is planning a 25 MW project following their 15 MW project, which was sold out to investors in less than a few month.

 
Huerta Solar project  in Cabanillas (Navarra), visited during previous PV Business Tour Spain

 

The less sunny autonomous region of Navarra, where the Huerta Solar initiatives started a few years ago, is, however, still leading in Spain. The region offers lots of cheap land since not many other economic activities are possible within this area.

 

 

 

 

Returns offered to investors are still good and lie around 8-10% per year. The feed-in tariff guarantee for 25 years makes the investment absolutely interesting compared to savings in a bank account. Spanish banks have discovered the PV market as a segment for attractive project financing and investors benefit by financing up to 80% of the solar investment. The Spanish economy is doing very well and many Spaniards have made good money with property investments. The Huerta Solar is a new and convenient way to invest and make money and is, therefore, becoming increasingly popular.

New product trends

Silicon shortages on the global market have lead to growing attention for thin film modules and concentrator PV systems. Since the cost of land is not the major issue in the development of a Huerta Solar, already one initiative has lead to the application of thin film modules in a project of 1.4 MW. Phnix SonnenStrom won the order to plan and construct the PV plant for TSK, a Spanish company in Gijn.
 


Concentrator PV system on tracking unit built by Guascor Fotn at Polytechnic University of Madrid

 

 

 

 

 

Concentrator PV has gained the interest from the industry (Isofotn) and researchers. The Institute of Solar Energy (IES) linked to the Polytechnic University of Madrid has started a new research centre, the Institute of Photovoltaic Concentration Systems.

 

PV concentration plants with a total of 2.7 MW using 3 or 4 concentration technologies will be set up in various places in the Spanish region of Castilla La Mancha. Companies will be selected through a tender procedure to take part in this project. It will give them the opportunity to develop and test their latest technologies.A company already involved in a Huerta Solar with their Concentrator PV (CPV) system on a tracking system is Guascor Fotn. This company is constructing a factory near Bilbao, Spain, to assemble CPV systems. The company is part of Grupo Guascor, a large manufacturer of industrial machines and cogeneration systems, and plans to manufacture and install 10 MW of CPV in Spain during 2006.
Another trend seems to be the use of large tracking systems. The Spanish company Ades in Zaragoza is selling and building Solar PV tracking units with an output power of more than 25 kW. Several units have already been built and many more are planned linked to new Huerta Solar projects.


25 kWp PV Tracker by Spanish company Ades in neighborhood of Zaragoza 

International attention for Spain

With the expected slight decrease of the German market, a stronger push of the major international PV companies to enter the Spanish market can be observed. The larger companies have taken over (SAG TauSolar), started joint ventures with Spanish companies or set up new subsidiaries (Phnix Sonnenstrom AG, Voltwerk). There is even one company that is building a new factory in Spain (Aleo Solar). The Chinese PV manufacturers have also found their way into Spain. Recently, Suntech Power signed a distribution agreement with the Spanish company Ibersolar. As well as the international attention, domestic larger companies have been attracted by the profitable PV market. The largest Spanish energy utility company, Iberdrola, and its engineering subsidiary, Iberinco, will build one of Europe's largest roof-mounted PV systems (3 MW) on Telefnica's new operations headquarters in Madrid as well as several solar farms and has set a target of 10 MW to be built by 2006. To conclude, many new and young companies have started solar farm initiatives. Although they sometimes are relatively small, their first directly profitable MW Huerta Solar project may bring them the resources they need to boost further growth. Let us not forget the Germany example where several of the once smaller players have grown out to become the global players we see today...

 

Many of the involved and abovementioned companies will give a presentation and explain more about the experiences related to developing and building solar farms in Spain and some projects will be visited during the PV Business Tour Spain 2006. The tour programme is, therefore, ideal for companies to meet the major Spanish PV companies and to learn more about the Spanish market developments for possible implementation in other countries. More information about this tour can be found on www.solarplaza.com.

 

PV Business Tour Spain 2006 information

 

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