July 18, 2007 at 7:43 pm #53033
WorldWater & Solar Technologies Announces Signing of Letter of Intent for Large Solar Farms in Spain
‘WorldWater & Solar Technologies Corp., developer and marketer of proprietary high-power solar systems, today announced that the Company has signed a Letter of Intent with M&G Promociones de Vivienda Urbana S.A., a real estate developer in Spain, to build several solar farms in Lorca (Murcia), Spain over the next five years. The contract to be negotiated will reflect plans by M&G to build three 10-MegaWatt (MW) farms over the next three years, with implementation starting in 2008 – 10MW each year – along with two 50MW farms in the fourth and fifth years. Negotiations will begin within weeks in Madrid to conclude the contract, which will be subject to conditions including financing, licensing and other commercial and permitting issues.
WorldWater has been chosen to provide complete turnkey systems and support for these massive solar electric farms in Spain, where renewable power is expected to provide long-term energy solutions with minimal environmental impact.’
New York Times copyright
July 18, 2007 at 10:41 pm #73622
I just hope Spain doesn’t make the same planning mistakes with these solar parks as they have done with their mass over-construction.
This photograph shows just a small fraction of a solar park in Germany.
Without going dizzy and counting, I guestimate there are well under 400 panels shown here. Well actually I did go dizzy and gave up.
Number of panels in total for this park: 6,500.
Output: 1 MegaWatt.
So a 10 MegaWatt solar park is massive, you are talking of enormous areas of land. If this is not planned right, forget the plastic greenhouses looking unsightly. Of course all very profitable for the investor who gets a stunning return on investment selling the energy back to the national grid – but let’s hope Spain and the planning regulators get it right this time.
As Suzanne’s post states, the company planning/investing in these particular parks mentioned is a ‘Real Estate Developer’, our favourite group of people! Have they finally found a new game to play, and will they have more regard this time for the people who already live in the area they wish to ‘develop’?
Photovoltaic solar parks are certainly the way forward in my opinion but am fearful that corruption may continue to rear it’s ugly head with such vast sums of money involved. Bribing their way to massive profits will be a hard habit to kick and just wonder if those brown envelopes have been made redundant quite yet.
And somehow I foresee a lot of protest marches and petitions in the making…
July 19, 2007 at 7:25 am #73625
Yes, one of these solar parks is planned for the hillside behind us. The panels are being supplied by a German firm and they have been fined already by the Junta for going ahead and bulldozing the hillside without full permission.
There is an article in the Sur in English about these farms in Spain, but at the moment the link is not working. I will try to get it again later.
I will also try to publish a photo showing the mess they have made of the hill already.
July 19, 2007 at 8:20 am #73629
Unlike building regulations the Solar industry is very highly regulated now. Whilst they may well build parks (and some have already done so) they CANNOT conect to the grid unless they have a licencein place to do so direct with Iberdrola. Before this licence is issued they must prove they have
1. Licence de Obras,
2. Authorisation industrial
3. An Aval of €500 per Kw (so a 10MW system requires a guarantee of €5M)
Once these are in place they also have to conduct an environmental impact study, then Iberdrola will conduct an audit of the electrical installations locally to make sure the grid can cope (all paid fo rby the person applying for the connection licences) any upgrades to the system need to be paid by the applicant.
In total to even start a 10MW system they need to spend about €7M and there is no guarantee they will get the licence (and Iberdrola will NOT issue them willy nilly as THEY have to pay the supplier a very high rate for te electricity produced so they are selective)
Yes there are many cowboys that have started solar farms without permission – hence why the government instigated the AVAL which must be lodged with the energy department prior to applying for licences. So effectively they will have a solar park producing enetgy which is going nowhere.
That will be enough to put all but the richest idiots from starting such projects – the ones that are in place without licences are being forced to be removed. Actually what is happening is Iberdrola are making them pay the fees anyway for the process of getting the licences then not approving them because they fail to meet the high standards –
It is only just starting to bite but now people are very careful about applying for licences otherwise they have a very expensive modern art.
On average for the type of installation shown in this picture you require 2,000M per 100KW. For one using a tracker system (more efficient) then you need 17,000M per 100KW.
Incidentally they also need to be very close to medium or high tesion supply otherwise the cost is prohibitive (they need to install a sub station at €25M and pay for the installation of underground power lines at a cost of €70,000 per kilometre.)
Personally I think the proliferation of Solar energy in Spain is fantastic and the government have already acted quickly to reduce the cowboy operators. It is great for te environment and a lot of installations are being put onto te roofs of warehouses which canot be seen, p in places such as Albacete, extramdura and such places where the visual impact is not so great because they are placed out of the way.
A well installed park is actually something to behold – especially if using trackers. But like anything in Spain not all installers are as good as the next.
I for one am all for green energy and I think it is fantastic that the Spanish Government have taken such a forward thinking approach to it.
Incidentally if anyone has money to invest in Solar energy the returns are excellet (but you do need money)
If you invest in a 100KW fixed system it will cost you about 650,000 euros and return you about 60,000 per anum. For a tracker installation this rises to €1M thereabouts and a return of €100,000 per year.
These tariffs are guaranteed by the government for 25 years (written in law by Royal Decree) and rise at CPI.
DOnt know anything else offering such a great return – property certainly doesnt.
Anyway I guess the point is tat not all installations are bad and ostly they are out of sight. The cowboys will get their come ppance because unless they do things the right way they will pay a lot of money for nothing.
I think so
July 19, 2007 at 10:57 am #73632
On my doorstep 😯 .
Strange that this news has come via New York and yet apparently not hot gossip here. Must investigate.
Know all properties that went before planning beginning of last year had to include solar panels.
July 19, 2007 at 11:27 am #73634
I read that from Jan ’07 all new developments had to introduce solar energy schemes as part of a national planning requirement.
Does anyone know if this is being implemeted on any sites currently under consruction in Andalucia?
July 19, 2007 at 11:38 am #73635
Unlike building regulations the Solar industry is very highly regulated now.
A good informative post Vince.
You say “A well-installed park is actually something to behold” and Germany is such a good example of this, doing things the right way and successfully for all concerned.
You are absolutely right re. all the regulations/requirements being in place in Spain. In theory all looks good, but in practice?
As we all now know, the construction business was supposed to have been highly regulated with so many ‘checks’ in place. Builders having to adhere to the PGOU plan (ignored), Town Planning depts. only supposed to issue building licences that was in accordance with the PGOU (ignored), developers having to issue Bank Guarantees by law (ignored), Banks supposedly honouring Bank Guarantees in cases of breach of contract (ignored), lawyers protecting their client’s interests in the purchasing process (not happening), judges giving justice to purchasers in illegal-build situations (not happening).
So look what happened there!
In the Mediterranean country I am living in with practically identical regulations as you describe in your post, the whole system re. these parks is wide open for ‘fiddles’.
Remember, the bigger the investor, the more ‘influence’ he has, the higher the circles he mixes in, and the more likely it is he has a friend or relative in the appropriate ‘high places’. Whether it be in the licensing depts., banks etc. or Iberdrola itself.
To take one example, yes – allocations for absorbtion by the grid provider is given to each area. But the small land owner who just wants a small park of say 100kW is given a higher rate per kW hour than someone with a larger park. Here, there is one rate per kW up to 150kW, then drops for any park over that. That gives Iberdrola yet another incentive to only grant licences to larger parks. Each kW/per hour produced is cheaper for them to buy. In some areas, just issuing licences for a couple of large parks will take up the total allocation re. absorbtion for that whole area. So the smaller land-owners are squeezed out and simply told to re-apply for next year’s allocation, only probably to get squeezed out again by the big-guys.
The very fact that such huge sums of money are involved, I think the risk of B.E.S. (brown envelope syndrome 😉 ) is very much there, and as we have learned – can work in the highest of places. I think there will be as many ‘nods and winks’ in this new photovoltaic area of business as there was in the construction business. It is already happening here.
I’m so cynical I would even say it is the perfect scenario for a spot of money-laundering. It will also attract high-rolling ‘syndicates’ of wealthy (influential) buddies, and we all know where they are likely to be employed…..
Hopefully I will be proved totally wrong!
July 19, 2007 at 11:58 am #73636
whilst you are correct about the price per KW for upto 100KW, what happens effectively is that a separate legal entity (ie an SL company) is created for each 100KW system. In fact te difference in rate isnt so great anymore (it was 40% different last year but it changed to being 3c per kw different still enough but not a huge difference as before).
There are major players involved in this – Deutchse Bank have invested heavily and are still doing so, And a number of high profile investment and equity houses in the UK are investing. I doubt very much whether these types of institution (who are backing a majority of the projects in Spain) would put a substantial amount of money into such projects – in fact I know they wouldn´t because their Due diligence process is very strict.
It may of course be the case that the licences are obtained beforehand and then the process begins (and is the case in many instances) but the amount of money needed to be put upfront is substantial. And bear in mind if Iberdrola or Endessa decide not to grant a licenceto someone they lose that money, it is enough to keep out many of the get rich quick boys.
The licences themselves are generally granted on a first come first served basis and bear in mind that now the world is looking on Spain they have to clean up their act somewhat – especially when we are talking so much money invested. However I have no doubt that nepotism rules ok and that the buddy system is still in operation.
But I am not sure the parallels drawn with the construction industry are completely correct, mainly because the type of investor backing these projects are not the Spanish Banks who dont give two hoots about legalities so long as they get teir commission and interest, but large international institutes that have a huge amóunt of clout in the financial world and could potentially urt Spain
Time will tell whether Spain has indeed cleaned up and whether the influence of the heavy hitters will play any part, I for one would like ot think so and I also applaud the Spanish Government for taking the bull by the horns and going all out for these projects (not to mention offering great incentives for those doing so) I hope though that Spain shows itself in a new light and hopefully leads the world (Germany and Holland excepted) in the new energy
Good luck to all
July 19, 2007 at 12:09 pm #73637
I think a major concern is where these solar farms will be, particularly for those living in Mucia. Just found another article,
dated July 11 2006:
‘Massive solar farm planned in Murcia
It will be the biggest network in the world.
Murcia is to be home to the world’s largest network of solar farms, with capacity to produce 14 megawatts.
The project was presented on Tuesday by the regional government’s councillor for industry and the environment, Benito Mercader, and the Mayor of Murcia, Miguel Ángel Cámara.
Work on the first phase in Lobosillo is due to start in October or November. It will cover an area of 26 hectares, and should be operational by the end of the year.
Phase two is planned for Alhama, with more farms planned for the north and the eastern part of the Region.
The project is promoted by Globasol.’
July 19, 2007 at 12:13 pm #73638
One more ´point that I missed through quickly reading through your post (by the way this isn’t criticism´and I hope it doesn´t sound like so) – your point about “the higher the circles he mixes in, and the more likely it is he has a friend or relative in the appropriate ‘high places’
I think this is the case the world over. I used to work for a pensions and administration systems company in the UK and the Chairman was the ex Chief executive of a major building society turned bank (with an X factor).
He was hired first and foremost because of his contacts in the banking and finance world. Whilst most contracts in the UK are issued on merit there is still a lot of influence exerted by such executives and it is very much a buddy buddy system in the UK too.
Also I know from experience of working in the government sector that whilst it is imperative they issue a tender (they have to by law) for government organisations, they still have their preferred suppliers and the tender is geared towards them so they have a high chance of winning it.
So the point is that nepotism lives the world over – it isn’t just Mediterranean countries that have it (although I don’t think brown envelopes change hands – least I didn’t see it happen
July 19, 2007 at 12:45 pm #73640
Would never take anything you say as a criticism Vince, and will always happily stand corrected by you. Your knowledge is far greater than mine on Spanish matters and your posts are too well-researched. 😉 I totally agree with you that nepotism lives the world over sadly….and often money and power go hand-in-hand with corruption.
It does look like Spain is at least taking great strides in the PV field and have made a very good (impressive) start, Madrid and Cadiz being two examples of their seriousness in tackling this energy crisis.
This one in Madrid is unbelievable! A 3 MW roof-installation is quite a project and a taste of the future?
July 19, 2007 at 12:51 pm #73641
from what I understand the law applies to Hot water and I believe it is 80% of all Hot water produced in a building has to be supplied by solar energy. However the same doesnt apply (as far as I know) to photo voltaic (ie electricity generating) solar panels.
I recently asked the question why when building a villa do constructors not at least give the option of a pV system.
The cost of such a system to run a house is about €40,000 but connected to the grid would produce about €4,500 of income per year, which would pay for itself in 10 years. Not to mention you would get free electrricity (every unit you use you are being paid 36c as opposed to 44c tat you dont use)
The answer it seems is because of te time it takes to get a licence from Iberdrola, but I for one would certainly hae such an installatin even if i had to wait a year for connection. Imagine the sales value of being able to say this house generates an income of €4,500 per year rising yearly – and it is sligtyly more expensibe than next door tat doesnt
July 19, 2007 at 1:18 pm #73645
I don’t think there will be brown envelopes for these projects…just green ones 😉
July 19, 2007 at 2:11 pm #73648
I am very sceptical at the figures quoted for production in the links for production of electricity you post. The second article states that a 100MW system will produce 36GWh per year, thats an incredibly efficient solar panel producing nearly 150 times the annual production of a normal photvoltaic panel.
A 100KW system will produce on average between 210,000 KWh per year and 250,000 (in very good regions) KWh per year therefore for 100MW will produce 250MWh per year – so these magic panels produce some 144 times more electricity than normal panels. I want ten of these in my garden (well I would if I had a garden)
Are these the same people that claim the complex will have 13 swimming pools and leave you with one and a 40M terrace when in fact it is a 4m one.
Oh no the developers are already in on the game
July 19, 2007 at 4:43 pm #73652
Vince – I think you may have mis-read something.
The total installed capacity the article refers to re. this plant in San Roque, Cadiz is 20.1MW.
Once completed, it will produce a total of 36GWh per year which is about right considering they are using trackers.
I think the 100MW referred to later in the article referred to Endesa’s five year plan, of which this plant in Cadiz is just a small part of.
Incidentally, just to give people an idea of the size of a 10MW solar park, imagine 56 football fields!
Take a look at the 10MW park in Bavaria: http://www.powerlight.com/success/pdf/BavariaSolarparkFactSheet.pdf
In case you’re tempted to count them, number of solar panels: 57,600. 😉
July 19, 2007 at 5:25 pm #73653
During morning trading today shares in M&G Promociones de Vivienda Urbana S.A. were up 7% to $2.40, with over 8 million in volume.
July 19, 2007 at 8:48 pm #73662
The Lorca solar farms are actually to be sited well inland between and behind Totana and Alhama .
So think Lorca council , who have not indulged in the massive building programme , are going to get this right as well.
Land around being Lorca City being too expensive for such a project.
Estimated to service 30,000 homes .
July 20, 2007 at 7:53 am #73666
The link to the article about the solar parks in the Malaga province is:
The 8 MW farm is to be on the hillside across the valley from our house in an area supposedly “Natural Park”.
The German firm installing it have a website and it looks as if it has been in the planning stage for a few years.
I saw an article somewhere that said that land suitable for solar parks is worth 10 euros a square metre, as opposed to 1 euro a square metre for ordinary rustic land not for building.
The fine of 30,000 euros imposed by the Junta, Medio Ambiente, was for clearing the land without waiting for permission.
July 20, 2007 at 8:03 am #73667
land tat is suitable for solar parks only has a value of 10€/m if it has fuil permissions with it, otherwise it isn´t worth even a euro. The landowners have to go through the same process to get the licences andpay the same fees, so it is only worth it because it is saving the companies themselves from waiting a year.
There is plenty of land available that wouldbe suitable and berdrola publish a list by area of land that would be considered for renewable energy parks (and that includes wind). Owners in these areas tend to try and go or licences or partner up with someone who can, once the licences are achieved they can then market it as having a licence.
But it was for exactly this reason the government recetly introduced te Aval (guarantee) that you have to pay €500 per KW applied for. This is paid directly to the government and is not returned until the project is underway.
The idea being is it stops the cowboys doing wat they started. ie going to the town hall, asking for permission then selling the land on as if it had licences, only for the new owners to be told by Iberdrola they had wasted their money.
So already it is a it safer than normal construction .to a degree.
Best of luck
Applauding the green revolution
July 20, 2007 at 11:24 am #73671
Thanks for your thoughts on the subject.
Self sufficiency in electricity is viable then if you can avoid the scams.
Oh and if I don’t “shuffle off” before the permissions come through.
July 20, 2007 at 11:45 am #73673
Itis viable and although you have to wait about a year or so, it is a wait wirthwhile in my opinion. It isnt just goig to save money on your bills (which will be rising significantly in the next few years as Oil is now at a record ever high of $77 a barrel – when I worked in the oil industry in the early 90´s it was about $20 a barrel and that was considered expensive ten)
However once you do get the licence (and for the small householder it is actually easier to achieve than the larger farms because you dont have any infrastructure to consider, dont have much to do except put a bi-directional meter which charges you 8c for te electricity you use and pays you 44c for everything.
So yes I still think it is worth going for and apart from being evironmentally friendly it will also give you a small income – that has to be better than running a ed and breakfast for te same amount of gains (after all expenses are taken out etc)
By the way like buying a property in Spain you also need to research solar suppliers as all are not created equal and yes there are unfortunately sharks out there who will sell you duff (mainly Chinese) panels that work for a year and die.
The best panels around are Solar World (German manufacturer) Sanyo, And general Electric. Should pay no ore than €3.50 per watt (normal panels are between 180 and 230W per panel depending on manufacturer)
In total an installation shouldnt cost you more than 10 times the amount of Watts – so a 2Kw system should cost €20,000, and will return about 1/10th to 18th of this per year as income wen grid connected depending on the area you are in and the weather (the hotter it is the worse it is)
Good luck and I hope you dont move on before benefitting from it
July 20, 2007 at 4:28 pm #73682
September 28, 2007 at 7:18 am #75312
Solar Panels upside-down & about-face in Murcia ❗
September 28, 2007 at 9:27 am #75317
Suzanne this report doesn’t surprise me in the least.
My area of Murcia..Esparragal…is but a few miles away …life here is just emerging from the 50’s and anything akin to modern technology ,equipment or ideas within the building industry is still in it’s infancy and one has to talk them through it 😉 .
September 28, 2007 at 10:31 am #75320
Hello Melosine. Well done to them though for ‘going green’. Conserving energy seems to be very much highlighted in Spain now & will no doubt prove to be a very good thing for the future economy & new ‘greener’ properties etc.
October 1, 2007 at 2:54 pm #75346
I am going to try to put some photos on here of the photovoltaic park near to us which is taking over the whole side of a hill. Work is going on 7 days a week and instead of “50 locals being employed for 6 months” the workers are Austrians and Germans.
To top it all last week there was a small fire, probably started by a cigarette which fortunately did not get out of control.
The brown part of the hill towards the left of the picture is all going to be filled with the solar panels.
October 1, 2007 at 3:03 pm #75347
Fabulous photo Arabrab. Is that part of the construction site just above 6:00 o’clock, or someone’s home ❓
October 1, 2007 at 3:04 pm #75348
Just getting the hang of posting photos – another image shows the very small finca next to the park, owned by some spaniards from Malaga, who use it as a weekend retreat. They were seen yesterday in a heated exchange with the local builder who sold the land to the German firm.
and another view from the top of the “park” showing its proximity to the finca next door.
October 2, 2007 at 6:34 am #75354
This would never be allowed to happen in Germany without some sort of consultation/compensation for the neighbouring properties. In my mind just another example of ‘anything goes’ in Spain where big money is involved and b*gg*r anyone else.
October 2, 2007 at 8:40 am #75357
……well i’m all for the ‘green’ thing in the right place at the right time, but i just can’t help thinking that this will just be yet another huge area of Spain, wrecked for the sake of a fairly small bunch of people getting very rich. I wish the known problems of injustice/courtroom backlogs now, could have been resolved before a whole new bunch of problems are created?
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