May 29, 2024

54 MWp Velux Group’s Solar Park in Spain is Now Operational

A new 54 MW agri-PV solar park in Spain, developed by BayWa r.e. for the Velux Group, is now fully operational and connected to the local electricity grid. This innovative solar park combines renewable power production with agriculture and biodiversity, providing Velux with renewable energy through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

More Than 85,000 Solar Panels Installed

A new solar park in Spain, which integrates agriculture and biodiversity, now supplies the Velux Group with renewable energy. This 54 MWp photovoltaic (PV) park, created to fulfil Velux Group's renewable energy needs in Europe, is fully operational and linked to the local electricity grid. It is the first Agri-PV solar park developed by the global renewable energy company BayWa r.e. in Spain, under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Velux.

According to a release on the Velux Group website, In November 2022, the Velux Group and BayWa r.e. announced a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to develop two large solar photovoltaic (PV) parks in southern Spain: one in Gerena, near Seville, and the other in Alhendín, near Granada.

The Alhendín park, which consists of more than 85,000 solar panels and produces 96.8 GWh of electricity annually, equivalent to the electricity consumption of 24,700 households, was recently completed and is now supplying electricity to the local power grid. With Alhendín now fully operational, Velux has achieved its goal of using 100% renewable electricity and has enabled the creation of a new renewable energy plant in Europe.

Blending Renewable Energy Production With Agriculture

The Alhendín solar park represents an innovative Agri-PV venture, blending renewable energy production with agriculture. Approximately 10% of the park is specifically designed to accommodate farming machinery movement between solar panels, marking the first such endeavour for BayWa r.e. in Spain.

Kim Jonas, Energy & Climate Director of the Velux Group, remarks on the significance of completing the Alhendín solar park and connecting it to the Spanish electricity grid. She underscores how this achievement enables Velux to fulfil its renewable electricity objectives, emphasising the project's alignment with its focus on climate action and biodiversity enhancement. Jonas highlights the collaborative efforts with BayWa r.e. to introduce the concept of Solar Plant Symbiosis, aimed at integrating solar parks with nature and communities for mutual benefits.

Daniel Gäfke, Global Director of Projects and Executive Member of the Board at BayWa r.e., expresses delight in aiding VELUX in attaining its 100% renewable electricity goal for its European operations. He emphasises the milestone's significance in advancing BayWa r.e.'s commitment to facilitating the corporate energy transition crucial for meeting global climate objectives. Gäfke stresses the shared commitment with VELUX to exceed standard practices, enabling the implementation of innovative features like Agri-PV while enhancing biodiversity and fostering community engagement to maximise local value creation.

Introducing the Concept of Solar Plant Symbiosis

The Solar Plant Symbiosis initiative involves a suite of measures to enhance biodiversity and foster community involvement. It is being developed with the Spanish universities Universidad de Córdoba and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

The Solar Plant Symbiosis initiative includes various measures such as conducting baseline studies, implementing an Agri-PV pilot, establishing a rainwater collection system, planting grass and wildflowers, creating wildlife refuges and hatching areas, improving steppe habitat, and monitoring these efforts. Additionally, social activities like workshops and educational visits are incorporated to engage the local community.

Looking ahead, these measures in Alhendín Park will be established step by step and are expected to be fully realized by Spring 2025. Meanwhile, the Gerena solar park is awaiting regulatory approval locally and is scheduled to be completed in 2025, with an expected capacity of about 60 MWp.

Once both solar plants are fully operational, they will generate 167 GWh of renewable electricity annually for Velux, equivalent to the electricity consumption of approximately 45,000 European homes. Around 80% of the electricity produced from the plants will be generated due to the PPA with Velux. This PPA is expected to reduce the carbon footprint of the Velux Group by approximately 40,000 tonnes of CO2 from the company’s European operations and activities every year.

CEZ Group has introduced a novel solution to secure solar panels in areas with unstable subsoil, repurposing steel structures from strip coal mines. This initiative piloted near the Bílina Mine, exemplifies the company's commitment to sustainability. Despite challenges like subsoil movement, ongoing research aims to optimize technology for long-term solar viability. As CEZ Group progresses towards its goal of constructing new photovoltaic power plants by 2030, its dedication to innovation and environmental stewardship heralds a greener future.

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