Nunez de Balboa is a 500MW photovoltaic solar plant located in Usagre, Badajoz, Spain. It is the largest photovoltaic plant in Europe.
Spanish energy company Nunez de Balboa developed the project in partnership with Ecoenergias del Guadiana. The solar power project involved an investment of approximately €300m ($328m).
The first MWh of power was fed to the electricity grid in April 2020, marking the commissioning of the solar plant. Nunez de Balboa has a maximum grid connection capacity of 391MW. The construction of the plant began in March 2019 and was completed in December 2019. It created more than 1,200 jobs with 70% of those provided to locals.
The project is expected to meet the energy needs of 250,000 people and eliminate 215,000t of CO₂ emissions annually.
Iberdrola negotiated long-term power purchase agreements (PPA) with three Spanish companies, Kutxabank, Uvesco Group and Euskaltel, to promote the consumption of sustainable energy. The company’s plans in Spain include the installation of 3GW of new renewable power by 2022 and commissioning of 10GW by 2030.
Nunez de Balboa solar project location
The Nunez de Balboa photovoltaic plant is located in the Extremaduran province of Badajoz in the south-western part of Spain.
The facility covers a surface area of approximately 1,000ha, spanning across three municipalities, Usagre, Hinojosa del Valle and Bienvenida.
Nunez de Balboa solar project details
The Nunez de Balboa photovoltaic plant can produce approximately 832GWh of clean power a year.
The solar project comprises 1.43 million solar photovoltaic panels installed on 288,000 ground mounts. Covering an area of about 10km², the panels have a total weight of more than 12,100t.
The power plant is equipped with 115 inverters and two substations.
The photovoltaic solar plant is installed with a DC power of 500MW and features 1,500 Vdc technology in solar panels and inverters. It has more than 2,000km of medium and low-tension cables.
The entire power grid connection infrastructure was developed as part of the project. The solar panels in the power plant produce DC power, which is converted into AC using inverters. The generated power is transferred to the 400kV Bienvenida substation located in the Badajoz province.
Financing for Nunez de Balboa solar project
The plant is financed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Instituto de Credito Oficial (ICO).
Both financial institutions signed a funding agreement with Iberdrola in Madrid in July 2019.
The EIB agreed to provide €145m ($163.4m), while ICO contributed €140m ($158m) to support the development of Nunez de Balboa solar project.
Contractors involved in the solar project
GreenPowerMonitor, a part of DNV GL, was contracted to monitor the power plant using its GPM SCADA management solution. The monitoring work involves controlling the devices of the plant individually, executing commands and obtaining real-time data related to energy production.
Iberdrola selected Cemosa to provide technical assistance for the plant construction in February 2019.
It included the supervision of civil works, mechanical and electrical assembly, electrical infrastructure, assembly of plant equipment and commissioning. Eiffage, a French construction engineering company, also supported the project.
Chinese company GCLSI supplied solar modules with a total capacity of 150MW under a contract awarded in March 2019. Local Spanish companies, including Imedexsa, Elaborex, Cubillana and Instituto Aeronautico, were also involved in the project.