Solar power in Spain
Spain is one of the most attractive countries for the development of solar energy, as it has more available sunshine than any other European country. The Spanish government is committed to achieving a target of 12 percent of primary energy from renewable energy by 2010 with an installed solar generating capacity of 3000 megawatts (MW). Spain is the fourth largest manufacturer in the world of solar power technology and exports 80 percent of this output to Germany.. Spain added a record 2 GW of solar power in 2008. Total Solar power in Spain was 3 GW by end of 2009. Solar energy has covered 2.8% of the electricity demand in 2009.
Through a ministerial ruling in March 2004, the Spanish government removed economic barriers to the connection of renewable energy technologies to the electricity grid. The Royal Decree 436/2004 equalises conditions for large-scale solar thermal and photovoltaic plants and guarantees feed-in tariffs.
Solar thermal power plants
In March 2007, Europe's first commercial concentrating solar power tower plant was opened near the sunny southern Spanish city of Seville. The 11 MW plant, known as the PS10 solar power tower, produces electricity with 624 large heliostats. Each of these mirrors has a surface measuring 120 square meters (1,290 square feet) that concentrates the Sun's rays to the top of a 115 meter (377 feet) high tower where a solar receiver and a steam turbine are located. The turbine drives a generator, producing electricity.
The Andasol 1 solar power station is Europe’s first parabolic trough commercial power plant (50 MWe), located near Guadix in the province of Granada, Spain. The Andasol 1 power plant went online in November 2008, and has a thermal storage system which absorbs part of the heat produced in the solar field during the day. This heat is then stored in a molten salt mixture and used to generate electricity during the night, or when the sky is overcast.
A 15 MWe solar-only power tower plant, the Solar Tres project, is in the hands of the Spanish company SENER, employing United States molten salt technologies for receiving and energy storage. Its 16-hour molten salt storage system will be able to deliver power around the clock. The Solar Tres project has received a €5 million grant from the EC’s Fifth Framework Programme.
Solar thermal power plants designed for solar-only generation are well matched to summer noon peak loads in prosperous areas with significant cooling demands, such as Spain. Using thermal energy storage systems, solar thermal operating periods can even be extended to meet base-load needs.
World's Biggest Solar Power Tower
Abengoa Solar began commercial operation of a 20-megawatt solar power tower plant near Seville in late April, 2009. Called the PS20, the plant uses a field of 1,255 flat mirrors, or heliostats, to concentrate sunlight on a receiver mounted on a central tower. Water pumped up the tower and through the receiver boils into steam, which is then directed through a turbine to produce electricity. The new facility is located adjacent to one with half its capacity, called PS10, which was the world's first commercial solar power tower plant. According to Abengoa Solar, the new facility is exceeding its predicted power output. 
Solar photovoltaic cells convert sunlight into electricity and many solar photovoltaic power stations have been built in Spain. As of January 2009, the largest photovoltaic (PV) power plants in Spain are the Parque Fotovoltaico Olmedilla de Alarcon (60 MW), Planta Solar Arnedo (30 MW), Parque Solar Merida/Don Alvaro (30 MW), Planta solar Fuente Álamo (26 MW), Planta fotovoltaica de Lucainena de las Torres (23.2 MW), Parque Fotovoltaico Abertura Solar (23.1 MW), Parque Solar Hoya de Los Vincentes (23 MW), Huerta Solar Almaraz (22.1 MW), Solarpark Calveron (21 MW), and the Planta Solar La Magascona (20 MW).
BP Solar begun constructing a new solar photovoltaic cell manufacturing plant at its European headquarters in Tres Cantos, Madrid.For phase one of the Madrid expansion, BP Solar aimed to expand its annual cell capacity from 55 MW to around 300 MW. Construction of this facility was underway, with the first manufacturing line expected to be fully operational in 2009. The new cell lines would use innovative screen-printing technology. By fully automating wafer handling, the manufacturing lines would be able to handle the very thinnest of wafers available and ensure the highest quality. Thin wafers are of particular importance since there has been a silicon shortage in recent years.However, after the new national law limiting installed power by year, in april 2009 BP Solar is closing its factories.
|Name of Plant||DC|
Peak Power (MW)
|Olmedilla Photovoltaic Park||60||85||0.16||Completed September 2008|
|Puertollano Photovoltaic Park||47||2008|
|Arnedo Solar Plant||30||Completed October 2008|
|Merida/Don Alvaro Solar Park||30||Completed September 2008|
|Planta solar Fuente Álamo||26||44||0.19|
|Planta fotovoltaica de Lucainena de las Torres||23.2||Completed August 2008|
|Parque Fotovoltaico Abertura Solar||23.1||47||0.23|
|Parque Solar Hoya de Los Vincentes||23||41||0.20|
|Huerta Solar Almaraz||22.1||Completed September 2008|
|Huerta Solar Almaraz||20||Completed September 2008|
|Planta solar fotovoltaico Calasparra||20|
|Planta Solar La Magascona||20||42||0.24|
|Beneixama photovoltaic power plant ||20||30||0.17||Tenesol, Aleo and Solon solar modules with Q-Cells cells|
|Planta de energía solar Mahora||15||Completed September 2008|
|Planta Solar de Salamanca||13.8||n.a.||70,000 Kyocera panels|
|Parque Solar Guadarranque||13.6||20||0.17|
|Lobosillo Solar Park||12.7||n.a.||Chaori and YingLi modules|
|Parque Solar Fotovoltaico Villafranca||12||High concentration PV technology|
|Monte Alto photovoltaic power plant||9.5||14||0.17|
|Viana Solar Park||8.7||11||0.14|
Policies, Laws and Incentives
Feed in Tariff
The Spanish feed in tariff, made under Real Decreto 661/2007, differs from the German model in that it offers the option of incentives ('prima' or premium (Eng.)) for sales into the wholesale electricity spot market as well as fixed incentives ('tarifa regulada').
New building codes
New building code laws in Spain are now mandating solar hot water for new and remodeled private residences, and photovoltaics to offset some power requirements for all new and remodeled commercial buildings. The new laws also reflect increased awareness of the importance of better building insulation and the use of daylighting.
Research and Development
The Plataforma Solar de Almería (PSA), part of the Center for Energy, Environment and Technological Research (CIEMAT), is a center for research, development, and testing of concentrating solar power technologies. ISFOC in Puertollano is a development institute for concentrator photovoltaics (CPV) which evaluates CPV technologies at the pilot production scale to optimize operation and determine cost. Technical University of Madrid has a photovoltaic research group.
- Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change
- Deployment of solar power to energy grids
- List of renewable energy topics by country
- Plataforma Solar de Almería
- Renewable energy in Spain
- Solar power in the European Union
- Solar power stations in Spain
- Wind power in Spain
- ↑ Spain expects 3,000 MW in Solar Plants by 2010
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Sunny Spain to Host Europe's First Large Solar Thermal Plant
- ↑ AEE (2010). Wind Energy has consolidated as the third technology of the power system
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Spain pioneers grid-connected solar-tower thermal power
- ↑ Andasol 1 Goes Into Operation
- ↑ http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/news/news_detail.cfm/news_id=12525
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Greenpeace Energy (2008). World's largest photovoltaic power plants
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 BP Solar to Expand Its Solar Cell Plants in Spain and India
- ↑ BP Solar closes its Spanish factories 
- ↑ Citysolar (2007). Solar park of the superlative
- ↑ Solar Power now Mandatory in Spain
- ↑ General Description of the PSA
- ↑ http://www.isfoc.es ISFOC website
- ↑ http://www.ies.upm.es/. website UPM - Instituto Energía Solar
- Impressions Plataforma Solar de Almería, Spain
- Andasol 1
- Spain pioneers grid-connected solar-tower thermal power
- Photovoltaic solar power grows fast in Spain
- GM installs world's biggest rooftop solar panels
- Is the Sun Setting on Solar Power in Spain?