180 MW of solar projects have been authorized under the market system in the south of the nation. Additionally, 68 licenses for solar projects are being processed, which total more than 2 GW of potential.
In Portugal licenses for PV projects under the market system are being processes which total 2.1 GW of capacity, according to a government press release.
Around half of this capacity, currently 35 initiatives, are able to obtain licenses. The rest of the projects, which total around 1.25 GW, are in the process of obtaining licenses. These projects were presented between September 2015 and May 2016 to Portugal’s Directorate General of Energy.
Additionally, the government has indicated that 180 MW of solar projects under the market system located in the Southern region of Alentejo already have been authorized. This capacity is “without a bonus price, without subsidies paid by consumers”, according to the press release.
The government points out that the difference between the new projects and previous projects is the new ones are under the market system. Older PV projects obtained rates of more than €300 per megawatt-hour, according the press release.
Portugal’s current solar PV capacity sits at around half a gigawatt currently. Of this capacity, one part corresponds to solar plants under a specific floor price and the rest is distributed generation and self-consumption installations.
EIB analyzes financing for PV projects
During the past year various PV projects have been announced under the market system in Portugal. Among those is a 21 MW plant by the company Expoentfokus in the city of Nisa, which was submitted under a public consultation last year, and a 46 MW project in Ourique.
Additionally, in January of this year the European Investment Bank (EIB) made public that it had analyzed grant funding for various PV projects in Portugal, including one project by Expoentfokus featuring four PV installations with a combined capacity of 165 MW. The cost of the project is estimated at €130 million and EIB states on its website that it is in the phase of analyzing grant funding for roughly €65 million.
EIB is also considering financing for two PV plants which total 100 MW of capacity located in the region of Alentejo, which it made public last April. The cost of this project is estimated at a total of €100 million and EIB is considering providing €50 million in financing.
Interconnection with Morocco
Following the advance of PV projects in the market system, the last few months have seen some progress on the level of interconnection of the nation with its neighbors for a better integration of renewable energy, which covered roughly 48% of the electricity mix in Portugal last year. This includes one of the highest penetrations of wind of any nation on earth.
Currently Portugal’s sole electrical interconnection is with Spain. However one month ago the Portuguese government launched a public solicitation for conducting a study for the viability of an electrical interconnection with Morocco.