Category: News

TIU Canada: Ukraine’s FiT-to-auction shift heralds PV golden era

For years stuck over Western states, the European PV spotlight is rapidly expanding to the continent’s outer reaches. Ukraine, home to a 2GW industry in 2018, is drawing eyes as it embarks on a transition from feed-in tariffs to deregulated auctions. At this year’s Intersolar, many acknowledged plans to consider moves into the former Soviet republic, which they described as a market-to-watch.

Already on the ground is TIU Canada, an investor with Canadian roots that has developed 10.5MW and 13.5MW projects since entering Ukraine in 2015. At a recent London meeting with PV Tech, CEO Michael Yurkovich outlined how the country’s unique conditions – strong irradiation, a constrained grid, solid manufacturing sector, the war with Russia – may hasten or hinder its journey towards subsidy-free solar.

PV Tech: How promising are the years ahead for Ukrainian PV?

Michael Yurkovich: Ukraine has so far been a success story for how clean energy can help a country. Renewables have been key in the energy independence discussion, allowing the country to stabilise the grid and diversify from natural gas and coal. Today it’s a strong irradiation belt with many shovel-ready projects looking for investment – we’ve been happy investing there and are now excited to take our own projects to the new deregulated auction scheme starting next year.

PV Tech: How much has emerged so far on how the auction scheme will work out?

Michael Yurkovich: The government is still figuring things out but the plan is to transition to a reverse auction model, with commercial deals between counterparties so that they can sell into the grid directly. If the auctions come through with the proper trading software, we think it could create a really good market in Ukraine – the country has a lot of industrial customers who could now be encouraged to add PV installations to their factories.

PV Tech: Does Ukraine have the foundations for a healthy corporate PPA scene that could support the deregulated shift?

Michael Yurkovich: Until now, most of the corporate PPAs have been inter-company deals, where a major consumer firm sets up a subsidiary to sell power back to the corporate parent. With the new auctions, however, we think there’ll be a lot of new customers and TIU Canada is ready for them. After decades in the Canadian energy space, and the deregulated market in for instance Alberta, we have the ability to understand what goes into a commercial contract negotiation, an auction tariff – these are things the market can understand and learn about quickly.

PV Tech: Over in Spain and other subsidy-free hotspots, competitive power prices have helped strengthen solar’s business case. What is the situation in Ukraine?

Michael Yurkovich: Right now, base rates for solar are 15 euro cents for plants built in 2019 and 11.25 euro cents for plants built in 2020 and we expect the pricing from auctions will be close to this mark. The reason is Ukraine’s very thin power pool – if you look at the voltage slack in the lines, there’s not a lot of space for new capacity additions. Energy storage and smart grid solutions could be an answer; it’s being explored by us for our projects but also the government, who are examining how to incentivise the market.

PV Tech: What is the government doing to fix grid congestion more generally?

Michael Yurkovich: It’s a big discussion right now. A lot of the grid needs recapitalising but given the concerns around debt capital in Ukraine, an issue is how to make it easier for investors to step in and back the construction of transmission infrastructure. The government is trying to create a market regime that will give investor their returns but also meet obligations to distributors. We’re hopeful they’ll come up with the right solution and in the meantime, we’re focusing on building where there are good links that don’t unbalance the grid.

PV Tech: We’ve reported on the social acceptance issues solar faces in markets such as the Netherlands. What is the situation in Ukraine?

Michael Yurkovich: Solar has been warmly adopted in Ukraine. Whereas most of the land was lying fallow and underused after state farms were returned, we come in to rent the land legally and turn it into a tax-generating asset. It’s been a big thing for farming communities, who can transition from semi-skilled employment to jobs in engineering, electrical cabling, security and so forth.

PV Tech: How developed is the Ukrainian solar manufacturing ecosystem?  

Michael Yurkovich: Ukraine has a strong history of electrical engineering, going back to the times when it built a lot of the Soviet Union’s inverters, transformers and was the source of the Russian airspace programme. Today there are many solid companies that have spent 30 to 40 years building high-quality transformers, inverters and arrays, and the push is now to rely on national, rather than foreign solar manufacturers.

PV Tech: Has the interaction with the previous and new Ukrainian government been easy? What have been the impacts of the war with Russia for solar players?

Michael Yurkovich: We haven’t had any direct interaction with the government but we thought the earlier administration governed the energy markets fairly. The EBRD and IMF advised them to deregulate the sector and that’s what they’ve done. The new government [of president Volodymyr Zelenskiy] has already reiterated that at least the presidential side supports European integration and the renewable transition.

Regarding the war, it’s been four years now but there’s been no major disruption for our business or, from what we’ve heard, that of others. A major solar plant in Crimea was cut off from Ukraine’s power grid after the annexation but to date, there’s been no other problems. With the exception of a cyber attack in 2014 against a transmission company, the system remains very well protected.

Credit for homepage picture: Flickr / Denis Bondariev

UK duo strike deal for ‘dynamic management’ of 19.5MW battery asset

Renewable energy and energy storage project developer Anesco has handed aggregator Flexitricity the keys to 19.5MW of battery assets, with the latter set to earn revenues from four different ‘streams’.

Flexitricity will provide market access for the batteries, which form a small portion of Anesco’s portfolio. The developer claims that by the end of next year it will have developed 380MW of UK battery storage.

Andy Lowe, head of business development at Flexitricity, said that with the UK market already moving away from the long-term contracted models through which it began only a couple of years ago, battery projects will increasingly need to play into merchant markets to gain revenues. Flexitricity meanwhile has nearly 0.5GW of distributed energy resources playing into its own virtual power plant and holds an energy supplier license which helps grant access to additional market opportunities.

“In a relatively short timeframe battery developers, investors and owners have had to adjust their thinking and get their heads around changing revenue stacks,” Lowe told

“There’s been a shift away from National Grid’s longer-term forward bought services, and the more bankable revenue streams that these brought, towards merchant operation and securing spreads between different energy markets based on within-day decisions.”

Transmission network opening up quickly to battery participation

The 19.5MW battery installation, at Larport Farm, England, will deliver frequency response services to transmission system operator National Grid, while also trading in day-ahead and intraday trading markets, as well as joining the Balancing Mechanism. The chance to join the latter comes after some reforms of market regulation, and Flexitricity’s Andy Lowe welcomed the changes, which mean smaller, distributed resources can contribute.

“The Balancing Mechanism has been around for years and is used every day by National Grid to balance the system, but in the past it has been dominated by large suppliers and generators. The significant change we have seen over the last 12 months is suppliers like Flexitricity opening up the Balancing Mechanism for commercial and industrial (C&I) sites and for smaller distributed generators that previously have not had access,” Andy Lowe said.

“National Grid has welcomed these innovations and whilst the rules of engagement have been there for years, some of those applicable to providers like us entering the Balancing Mechanism have only recently been tested.”

The network operator opened up a distributed resources desk as a new platform for managing distributed resources on its network, which Solar Media’s UK editor Liam Stoker interviewed Anesco asset manager Mike Ryan about back in February.

Ryan said the new system, while enabling wider participation in the BM, would “offer a lot of benefit”, in a short space of time. Flexitricity’s view was that the opening of the distributed resource desk was a sign of “fantastic commitment” from National Grid.

“We expect to bring more assets into the Balancing Mechanism and for wider access to be available for more users/providers towards the end of this year/start of next, with the rollout of project TERRE (Trans European Replacement Reserve Exchange),” Lowe said

Being dynamic is absolutely key to successful asset optimisation

Flexitricity wants to optimise and balance the participation of the batteries in those different markets, which will have competing needs and could be offered up at the same time, in some cases. In other words, “market access and agility is key”, Andy Lowe said.

“Being dynamic is absolutely key to successful asset optimisation. Whilst services might change over time as new opportunities emerge, our current strategy will include stacking frequency response services, if the price is right, with trading the asset in the day ahead and intraday markets, and directly with National Grid in the Balancing Mechanism. This wide-ranging market access allows us to secure the best buy and sell prices available, whilst also keeping an eye firmly on the opportunities available from delivering Ancillary Services.”

Through another deal announced in March, 16MW of Anesco’s solar-plus-battery storage at Clayhill, the UK’s first ‘true unsubsidised’ large-scale solar farm, will be optimised by EDF Energy, partnered with aggregator / supplier Upside Energy. That deal was claimed to be the first time a guaranteed floor price had been agreed for energy storage in the UK market. EDF will trade that energy using its own proprietary demand-side response platform in wholesale markets.

Download O&M in storage: Optimisation & Maintenance, a feature article from PV Tech Power Vol.11 (2017, Solar Media) from the ‘Resources’ page of this site.

BEIS rubber stamps renewables’ participation in Capacity Market

The government has formally approved renewables’ participation in future Capacity Market auctions, and unsubsidised projects could compete as early as next year.

In a consultation response published yesterday, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) confirmed it would adopt proposals to add non-dispatchable generation assets to the list of generating technology classes allowed to compete for contracts.

And those changes are to come into force in time for them to pre-qualify for the T-3 auction slated to run next year, with BEIS concluding that opening up the CM to renewables at that time would be “fair and necessary”.

Having first mooted their participation last August, BEIS launched a consultation in March intending to survey the energy sector’s thoughts on how renewables may participate in practice.

A large majority – 85% – of respondents to that consultation agreed that renewables should be allowed to participate, however a similar number stressed the importance of adopting appropriate de-rating factors for those technologies.

In order to ensure these are correct, BEIS has mandated for an Equivalent Firm Capacity methodology to be used when applying de-rating factors to renewables projects, similar to that applied to energy storage projects.

The delivery body – National Grid – will also conduct an annual review of de-rating factors attached to renewables to ensure that they closely follow technological trends and advancements.

Crucially for the renewables sector, the wording in BEIS’ response implies a tacit endorsement of not just renewables’ participation in the Capacity Market, but the role they can play in the wider energy system.

“[Renewables’] participation in the CM does not increase security of supply risks, but rather alters where and how their contribution to security of supply is accounted for.

“With the arrival of subsidy-free projects interested in bidding into the CM, and the Delivery Body’s work to effectively de-rate intermittent renewables, the impetus for this change has become clear, reinforced by the widespread support of stakeholders,” the consultation response reads.

There is, however, some question about how much renewable capacity could come forward. Any project receiving any form of subsidy payment is forbidden from participating in the CM under state aid rules, and revenues from CM contracts would only be marginal to a subsidy-free renewable project’s revenue stack.

As such, BEIS has concluded that there is unlikely to be a “material impact” on the amount of new capacity coming forward as a result of the rule change, and renewables are expected to account for just 0.5% of total capacity market costs by 2030.

Voltalia kickstarts French corporate PPA scene with 5MW deal

A large-scale PV project from French developer Voltalia has inked what the firm claims is the country’s first ever corporate PPA.

For 25 years, retailer Boulanger Group will directly buy power from a 5MW first solar plant Voltalia will build, own and operate, with plans to reach the commissioning stage in 2022.

In a joint statement, developer and offtaker explained further installations could follow, describing a commitment by Boulanger to buy power “in priority” from Voltalia’s upcoming renewable projects.

Boulanger, known in France as a furniture and electronic device retailer, already has plans in place to become fully renewable-powered this July via existing hydro plants.  

“Aware that this new purchasing policy has only an indirect impact on the energy transition, Boulanger has decided to support the construction of additional capacity, through this durable partnership with Voltalia,” the retailer explained.

The claims of France’s first-ever corporate PPA come as the country – the reported home of 9.48GW of solar PV last year – falls behind Spain, Portugal and others in the market for these deals, seen as central for subsidy-free solar.

Deployment via auctions continues apace, however, with 855MW awarded to 118 ground-mounted projects at the latest dedicated tender in March.

For its part, Voltalia has in recent years been active not just in France but also beyond, with contracts landed in Albania, Egypt, Myanmar, Kenya and Brazil. The firm’s business witnessed a significant boost in 2016, when it took over fellow player Martifer.

Intersolar 2019: Italian PV eyes multi-gigawatt comeback

Numbers alone go far in illustrating the turbulent past decade for Italian PV. IRENA stats show the country’s industry initially surged – from 1.2GW in 2009 to 16.78GW in 2012 – but then froze in the 18GW-19GW region over the six following years, ravaged by the phase-out of subsidies.

The paralysis may soon, however, become a thing of the past. The climate and energy plan put forward by the government this year would have solar capacity soar to 50GW by 2030. Can the industry turn the page and achieve such phenomenal growth, despite the lingering structural barriers?

At Intersolar Europe this week, PV Tech put the question to Alberto Pinori, general manager at Fronius and CEO of association Anie Rinnovabili, and Andrea Bassi, project manager at Fronius.

PV Tech: Has Italian PV fully recovered from its years of collapse?

Alberto Pinori: The situation after 2013 was very challenging. For reference, the inverter sector went from 35 producers in that year to five in 2019, while other firms decided to stop supplying products to the Italian market. But we can now see the forest after the storm and it has become stronger: a lot of companies may have disappeared but those remaining today are very professional, qualified, informed parties, who ask the right questions.

PV Tech: Could Italy’s new energy and climate plan kickstart a new phase of solar growth?

Alberto Pinori: The plan requires renewables to power 55.4% of Italy’s electric power, 33% of heating and 21.6% of transport needs by 2030. Achieving this would mean pushing installed PV capacity from around 20GW today to 26.8GW in 2025 and over 50GW in 2030, a 158% jump all in all.

PV Tech: Can government action help solar achieve such monumental growth?

Alberto Pinori: A new auction scheme and contract-for-difference type of subsidies will be rolled out under the so-called Decreto Fer. The law is currently being considered by the European Commission but we expect it will be ready in June, and lead to auction registrations by September. The EU Clean Energy Package could help as well as it foresees the promotion of solar on buildings shared by several households, where the building owner would sell the PV electricity to the different flats.

And there is also the chance to grow without subsidies. Italy’s definitely ready for these projects.

PV Tech: As part of a recent feature, we saw that subsidy-free solar is slowly taking off in Italy but many obstacles remain. What is your take?

Andrea Bassi: A problem is corporate PPAs remain non-existent in Italy. Physical agreements for on-site installations are easy but with other deals, obtaining permission from the electricity distributor is very difficult. Companies already buying energy from a trader could struggle to sign a corporate PPA as under Italian law, you’re not allowed to have two traders.

There are of course, in addition, commercial barriers like price, and the fact that regulation makes it very difficult for foreign money to be invested directly in the Italian market. What foreign funds are doing now is going to a very specialised local player that acts as broker for the Italian market, connecting firms with developers, EPCs and so forth.

PV Tech: Does finding a project site add to the complexities and is the government acting to ease matters?

Alberto Pinori: As things currently stand, finding a site will carry a €20,000/MW fee just in return for permission to build. And there are also cultural factors for foreign players to consider: if you don’t talk to the landowner in his local dialect you will get nowhere, whoever you are.

An issue we’ve had is regions stopped many projects because they didn’t want to develop too much on the ground. However, the government is preparing another regulation that will force regions to identify areas where PV may be installed. Some estimates indicate that opening up a mere 10% of the area that is currently not farmed would allow Italy to roll out around 60GW of solar PV. Repowering could also help push up capacity.

PV Tech: How does the current Italian government feel about renewables? Do they sympathise with the needs of the PV industry?

Alberto Pinori: In the past, the government has sometimes been a supporter and other times a competitor. All electoral programmes speak of the green economy but the actual meaning of those words is less understood.

At the moment we’ve got a coalition between two parties [Five Star Movement and Lega Nord] and their values stand very far from each other. There is a sentiment that the EU elections could lead to a breaking-up of the coalition and new Italian elections. Alignment with green economy policies will depend on those results.

Intersolar 2019: Certainty comes at a price in subsidy-free era

All solar players must accept the uncertainty brought about by a free-market shift if they are to make a success of the new era, the Intersolar Europe conference has heard.

Developers, financiers and utilities took turns at the annual industry get-together in Munich this week to spell out the risks of a zero-subsidy environment, not least tough PPA negotiations and hazy long-term power price forecasts.

“I think people hark back to the old days of subsidies,” Sean Maguire, commercial VP for European PV and wind at Statkraft, told a panel discussion on Wednesday morning. “We hear questions around 10- to 15-year fixed-price PPAs but in a lot of the markets we’re present in, to go that long-term is a challenge.”

“The future remains uncertain,” was how fellow panellist Bastien Grandet, deputy head of financing at Neoen, chose to put it. “Developers have already tried to adapt, not because we’re clever but because we had to. EPCs are following and it’s lenders we see lagging behind – we’ve yet to find a common view on how to deal with long-term merchant risks.”

Bracing for reverse subsidies

The talk in Munich of the double-edged sword that is free-market solar – the chance to break free from subsidies, the risk of inviting long-term disruption in the process – echoes discussions at PV Tech publisher Solar Media’s own events.

Aquila Capital, Blackrock and other speakers at the Large Scale Solar Europe summit in March were all bullish on the potential they see in Spain, Portugal and others. Success, it was pointed out at the Lisbon event, will require testing assumptions around power prices and grid constraints.

Speaking at Intersolar this week, Neoen’s Grandet said fast-approaching grid parity is positive; it proves, he argued, that subsidies to solar were well-spent money. However, Grandet questioned how much further technology costs can dive before cannibalisation scenarios become real.

Grid access, Grandet went on to say, will be the defining bottleneck of zero-subsidy solar. “Look at Portugal’s next auction this summer, where people will pay just for the right to connect to the grid. We seem to be going from a subsidised to a reverse subsidy industry,” he remarked.

Mastering merchant risks

Given the reservations around auction schemes and the struggle to land long-term PPAs, rising numbers in the solar industry are being forced to mull merchant moves.

Statkraft may have signed the 15-year PPA with BayWa r.e.’s 175MW Don Rodrigo scheme in Spain but has learned, through its own development business, how scarce quality PPAs can be in some markets. According to Maguire, the utility is examining alternative routes, including going merchant and maximising the value of assets it divests under its build-sell-operate model.

“Will merchant solar become the norm? We don’t believe so,” he commented. “But as portfolios grow and subsidies start to fall away, funds and investors may start to look into owning around 20-30% of their portfolios on a merchant basis.”

Speaking alongside him, Mirova managing director Raphael Lance offered a cautionary tale to those unprepared to question long-term forecasts. His firm, an impact investor part of the Natixis group, saw the equity value of two Swedish wind projects halve after power price projections had to be revised downwards.

“Our decision to fix prices for a 5-year hedge with these projects only secured around 9% of the revenues,” he explained. “My advice is be careful with short hedges as they still expose you to a significant merchant share. Market prices can be very volatile.”  

SPAIN ROUND-UP: Audax snaps up 320MW, Foresight bags 50MW, Aragón fast-tracks 49.98MW

Audax bags 320MW Spanish portfolio from undisclosed seller

10 May: Clean energy firm Audax has snapped up a major solar pipeline in Spain, the latest PV play for a traditionally wind-focused developer and distributor.

According to the group’s statement, a 320MW portfolio – 60MW of it at an advanced development stage – has been acquired from an undisclosed seller, spanning assets across the southern regions of Andalusia, Castilla la Mancha and Murcia.

Contacted by PV Tech today, a source explained the PV pipeline features a number of projects of around 50MW, with others around the 20MW capacity mark and a handful of smaller (5MW) assets. Construction, the source added, will be handled by the as-of-yet unidentified seller.

The price tag for the 320MW lot has yet to be revealed but PV Tech understands it could lie in the region of €250-270 million (US$281-303 million).

The Spanish solar foray is the latest of a series at Audax. In little more than a year, the firm has signed Iberian solar PPAs with JP Morgan (660MW), WELink and Allianz (708MW) and Trina Solar (300MW).

Foresight continues subsidy-free spree with 50MW purchase

10 May: Foresight has expanded its Iberian subsidy-free portfolio by acquiring a 50MW project in Puebla de Guzmán, Andalusia.

The purchase from EPC player Solaer Group – the fifth and largest Foresight has ever signed with the Spanish firm – comes as construction of the plant progresses, with plans for grid connection by early 2020.

The plant in the Huelva province is, once finished, expected to supply an annual 85GWh in power under what Foresight described as a “long-term” agreement, yet to be signed.

In Spain, the Puebla de Guzmán scheme joins Foresight’s fellow zero-subsidy solar projects Torre de Cotillas (3.9MW) and the ArcelorMital-backed Escalonilla duo (10MW).

Across the border in Portugal, Foresight acquired Vale Matanças (7.2 MW) in July 2017. The deal was billed at the time as the country’s first ever investment in a large-scale, unsubsidised PV project.

Aragón project to sail through permits with government blessing

7 May: A utility-scale project in the Aragón region is to secure swift passage through the authorisation process on instructions from the government.

Aragón counsellors agreed this week to classify a 49.98MW project by grupo SAMCA as a regional priority, a move set to halve the duration of administrative proceedings the plant will be subjected to.

Once operational, the Mudéjar I scheme is expected to create 250 jobs and generate 82GWh of power from a site in Andorra, a town in the Teruel province.

Construction will be overseen by Monegros Solar and will require over €25 million (US$28 million) in investments.

BayWa’s subsidy-free solar goes further north

BayWa r.e is building what is likely to be Germany’s first completed subsidy-free solar park, bringing the firm’s unsubsidised offerings further north in Europe, as a company executive previously indicated to PV Tech.

UK firm Anesco has already completed the first large-scale subsidy-free PV project in the UK, but this was supported by an energy storage system.

BayWa has also already developed perhaps the most significant subsidy-free solar project in Europe today, the 175MW Don Rodrigo project in Andalusia, southern Spain, an area which has some of the highest irradiation in Europe. That project has been covered extensively in our latest edition of print magazine PV Tech Power, which will available at Intersolar Europe in Munich, next week.

Discussing Don Rodrigo with PV Tech recently, Benedikt Ortmann, MD at BayWa r.e. Solar Projects, said that the company is working on unsubsidised projects across Europe including in countries further north than Spain.

While PV developer EnBW recently announced it would be building a 175MW project without subsidies in Germany, it will commence construction on that project six months later than BayWa’s plant.

Like EnBW, BayWa’s first such offering in Germany will prove that solar energy can now compete against conventional energy sources in Germany without any financial subsidies.

Project Barth V, located 30 kilometres east of Stralsund, North Germany, on the site of the Baltic Sea airport Stralsund-Barth, has a total capacity of 8.8MW and construction will start at the beginning of June. BayWa has also benefitted from cable routes and network connections from previous project plans at the same site. Power will be supplied to an industrial partner via a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) for which negotiations are underway. A German bank will provide long-term, non-recourse financing.

In a release, Ortmann said: “We have already shown that solar power can be generated today more cheaply than conventional power. While experiencing lower irradiation values, we have now proved subsidy-free is possible in Germany too. We are very proud to be ushering in a new and exciting era for renewable energy generation.”

The firm has said that the EEG-surcharge will continue to have an important role in the energy transition, particularly supporting small and medium-sized residential and commercial plants. Indeed, Matthias Taft, member of the Board responsible for the energy business, BayWa AG, added: “Although in some cases it is possible to build small and medium-sized, self-consumption projects without subsidies in Germany, they will still be needed to support this segment of the market moving forward. In addition, subsidies for solar solutions for residential housing will also remain important as a means of encouraging the participation of broad sections of the population and to help facilitate the development of a decentralised, near-load supply.”

Dutch PV in catch-up mode after subsidy splurge

Dutch PV is set to speed up its journey to the top of the renewable mix after dominating in the latest subsidy rounds, according to new government stats.

Figures released by state agency RVO show solar was awarded €3.2 billion of the €6 billion latest batch of SDE+, the Netherlands’ renewable support programme.

The autumn 2018 round will subsidise a 2.9GW PV pipeline of 4,411 projects, the bulk of the total of 4.02GW and 4,618 projects across all renewable technologies.

At 89MW, Powerfield’s PV project was the largest renewable installation to reap support through the latest SDE+ iteration. A 48MW floating scheme by GroenLeven was amongst the other subsidised solar heavyweights.

Solar’s ‘striking’ catch-up

The subsidy success comes after Dutch PV was found by IRENA to double capacity between 2016 (2GW) and 2018 (4.15GW), even as still-leading wind only grew from 4.2GW to 4.4GW. “The catch-up effort continues,” trade body Holland Solar said after the SDE+ results were released.

Separate figures for the upcoming SDE+ round – a fresh €5 billion in subsidies the government will award around the summer – suggest PV is ready to continue making the most of state support.

Over 5,170 of all 5,376 renewable schemes applying for funding between 12 March and 4 April 2019 were PV projects, which requested €2.9 billion of the €4.8 billion applied-for total. Solar’s large share is “striking”, said Economy minister Eric Wiebes in a letter to Dutch MPs.

Subsidy-free era not ready to dawn

The Netherlands, under pressure to hasten slow progress with renewables, will update the SDE+ scheme next year. Subsidies under the SDE++ phase will account for CO2 reductions, a first in the country.

Speaking to PV Tech earlier this month, Holland Solar board member Peter Desmet said the existing project backlog will buy solar developers time whilst they learn to adapt to the SDE++ changes.

Desmet, who is CEO of distributor Solarclarity, said subsidy-free success will likely not come within the next two to three years. The Netherlands’ mix of lower sun yields, expensive land and relatively modest power prices will slow the independence from SDE+, Desmet added. 

See here for the autumn 2018 subsidy results and here for the applications received for the upcoming round

Solarcentury to build Spanish 200MW portfolio after stake sale

Solarcentury has offloaded a majority stake in a 200MW PV portfolio in southern Spain, which it will work to build starting this summer.

The British solar developer has yet to disclose the identity of the majority buyer for the four 50MW projects ‘Cerrado Cabrera’, ‘El Primo Alemán’, ‘Hazas de los Sesenta’ and ‘Los González’, cleared for construction last November in Alcalá de Guadaira (near Seville).

Solarcentury said it will build, run and manage the ‘La Cabrera’ group of four mostly on its own, once full financial close is reached. The developer will work alongside partner and local engineering firm Texla, as earlier statements had indicated.

The stake divestment comes amid speculation that a sale could too lie on the horizon for the entire Solarcentury group. Last week, investment bank Evercore was said by Sky News to have been hired to run a £250 million (US$325 million) auction process for the UK developer.

Over in Alcalá de Guadaira, work on the 200MW portfolio should see the four PV plants linked to the grid in 2020. the power they generate after that point should cover the demand of 105,000 households, according to Solarcentury.

As noted by the firm’s chief executive Frans van den Heuvel, this is the second large-scale PV project it is deploying on a subsidy-free basis in Spain.

Its 300MW Talayuela installation in Cáceres – some 400 kilometres north – went down the same route after signing a PPA with an undisclosed offtaker last October. Since that same month, the project has been co-owned between renewable operator Encavis (80%) and Solarcentury (20%) after the former bought a majority stake.

Solarcentury claims to be working on a 5GW solar pipeline across the globe, spanning auction-backed projects in France, PV mini-grids in Eritrea, utility-scale in the Netherlands, Nigeria and Chile, amongst others.

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