“I greeted the sun by raising my right hand,” Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa once wrote. Europe’s largest solar power plant and the fifth-largest one in the world will be named after him.
Iberdrola and its partner Prosolia Energy said they secured approvals from the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) for the construction of Europe’s largest photovoltaic plant and the fifth-biggest worldwide. The site is in Santiago do Cacém near Sines, in the Setúbal district.
The facility will generate energy that is equivalent to 370 million cubic meters of gas per year
The solar power plant will produce clean and cheap energy to cover the annual needs of 430,000 households. The grid connection has already been contracted with Portuguese operator REN. The facility will generate energy that is equivalent to 370 million cubic meters of gas per year.
Site to also be used for sheep grazing, beekeeping
The solar farm will have a capacity of 1.2 GW, the announcement adds. The project will create up to 2,500 jobs, mostly local. The Fernando Pessoa system is expected to come online in 2025. The project’s action plan includes measures such as occupational skills training, fostering tourism and providing solar energy to nearby communities.
The planned solar farm is setting a new benchmark in combining Europe’s clean energy ambitions with the delivery of tangible environmental and social benefits
As for biodiversity and environmental protection, the company pointed out that shepherds would graze sheep at the same location and that beehives would be introduced. It will help improve ecosystem stability and boost crop yields in the surrounding farmland, according to Iberdrola.
“This solar farm sets a new benchmark in combining Europe’s clean energy ambitions with the delivery of tangible environmental and social benefits,” Executive Chairman Ignacio Galán stated.
Iberdrola already operates Europe’s largest solar power plant
Iberdrola already owns the largest photovoltaic park on the European continent. The 590 MW Francisco Pizarro facility in Extremadura is in western Spain. It was commissioned in August.
But there is also the biggest solar complex, of 750 MW, in Spain as well. The system in Aragon consists of 15 units with 50 MW each.
Rezolv Energy said in November that it would start building a solar power plant of more than 1 GW in Romania in June. A 1 GW project is under development in France. The construction is underway in the Turkish Konya province, south of Ankara, of a plant with 1.35 GW in nameplate capacity, translating to 1 GW in connection power. The site is in Asia Minor, so geographically it’s outside of Europe.
Greek coal and electricity producer Public Power Co., which is undergoing transformation toward renewable sources, is building a 550 MW facility in the country’s north via its subsidiary PPC Renewables. Enipeas won a strategic investment status on a national level for its solar power project with a planned peak capacity of 700 MW in Thessaly.
German company Profine Energy intends to install a floating solar power plant in Bulgaria with a capacity of 500 MW to 1.5 GW.
In Serbia, Fintel energija and MK Group launched the 660 MW Agrosolar Kula project in 2021 for the simultaneous production of agricultural crops and electricity from solar energy. El Sun Energy plans to build a 950 MW solar power plant in Croatia.
Last year, Iberdrola commissioned a part of its Tâmega Gigabattery pumped storage hydropower plant on the Tâmega river in Portugal. The investment was valued at EUR 1.5 billion. The company plans to invest EUR 3 billion in the country in the following years in wind and solar power.