Europe’s Largest Solar Energy Plant

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With 1,430,000 solar panels, Núñez de Balboa in Spain is currently Europe’s largest solar plant. Construction of the plant by  Iberdrola took less than a year to complete. The plant covers an area of 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres) straddling the municipalities of Usagre, Hinojosa del Valle and Bienvenida in the province of Badajoz in Spain. The solar energy plant cost about 290 million Euros to build.

Currently undergoing testing with Spanish grid operator Red Eléctrica de España (REE), the solar plant is scheduled to come into service during the first trimester of 2020. With an installed capacity of 500 megawatt peak (391 MW of maximum grid connection capacity), the plant will provide electricity for 250,000 people. Iberdrola estimates that the solar plant will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 215,000 tons per year.

Núñez de Balboa solar energy plant.  Photo: Iberdrola.
Núñez de Balboa solar energy plant. Photo: Iberdrola.

These images from Landsat show the region in Spain shortly after the first photovoltaic panels were installed in March of 2019 and the completed solar energy plant in February of 2020. Both satellite images were acquired by Landsat 8.

Núñez de Balboa solar plant in Spain.  Images: Landsat, NASA.
Núñez de Balboa solar plant in Spain. Images: Landsat, NASA.

The Núñez de Balboa solar plant won’t remain Europe’s largest photovoltaic plant for very long.  Iberdrola will break ground in 2021 with the Francisco Pizarro project. This solar energy plant will be located in the province of Cáceres between Torrecillas de la Tiesa and Aldeacentenera. Slated to occupy 1,300 hectares (3,200 acres), the plant will have an installed capacity of 590 megawatt peak and supply electricity to 375,000 people.

Watch: The Largest Solar Energy Plant in Europe

References

Núñez de Balboa completed: Iberdrola finalizes the construction of the largest photovoltaic plant in Europe within one year. (2019, December 27). Retrieved from https://www.iberdrola.com/press-room/news/detail/nunez-balboa-completed-iberdrola-finalizes-construction-largest-photovoltaic-plant-europe-within-year

Europe’s largest PV plant is ready to kick off. (2020, January 16). Retrieved from https://www.sustainability-times.com/low-carbon-energy/europes-largest-pv-plant-is-ready-to-kick-off/

The Largest Solar Power Plant in Europe (For Now). (2020, February 28). Retrieved from https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/146374/the-largest-solar-power-plant-in-europe-for-now

Francisco Pizarro, the largest photovoltaic project in Europe. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.iberdrola.com/about-us/lines-business/flagship-projects/francisco-pizarro-photovoltaic-plant

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