With the drop in the supply price of solar panels, the cost of installations, a LOT more sun (than England) and the much higher electricity prices now means that an economic investment can be made in Solar PV without the need for Feed-in-Tariff or Renewable Energy Obligation support . Of course that is at the industrial scale! – In just one province – Murcia in South East Spain – they plan to install 2.5GW of solar PV – that’s 10 times more than they did in the last two years alone.
Here’s an extract and link to the full article at historyfuturenow.com
Last month we wrote how the cost of solar photovoltaics had dropped to such a low point that it was now possible to develop solar projects in the sunnier parts of Spain without any government support. This piece provides some more facts and figures about that growth. The Spanish province of Murcia plans to install an additional 2,498MW of solar PV, which would provide more power than the entire domestic consumption of electricity in the province. First, what was mentioned last month:
What is happening with solar power at the moment is quite astounding.
There are now a number of large scale solar projects that are being developed in Spain and Italy that I am aware of aim to be built without a penny of government support. This is a milestone in history and will have far reaching implications. Subsidy free renewables has been the holy grail for the renewables sector since its inception. While we can argue that conventional fuels get 10 to 37 times more government support than alternative energy, at the end of the day the general public is not aware of that inconvenient truth.
These solar projects are a beachhead as strategically important to the world as Omaha Beach was to the D-Day landings and the outcome of the Second World War. They allow solar developers, manufacturers and financiers to develop projects without fear of sudden changes in government support mechanisms that will make their projects financially unviable. They allow companies to purchase power from solar projects without fear of inflation and energy price rises. They allow governments to rethink their policies towards oil producing nations. They allow citizens access to cheap, clean energy.
Spain and Italy have very high solar irradiation levels and relatively high electricity prices. They are not normal markets and not all projects will work without support, even there. Other markets will still take years before solar power can reach grid parity. But they represent the future that has already arrived today.
Thanks to this I was forwarded an article, dated 30th July 2012 from La Verdad, a Spanish publication describing the new boom in solar photovoltaic development taking place just in the province of Murcia in south east Spain. Key highlights are:
- There are plans to install 2,498 MW of solar PV. This compares to just 289MW installed in the past two years.
- This is enough power to supply 645,000 homes: almost 100,000 more homes than exist in the province.
- Just three of these new solar farms will require €1.427 billion of investment. Huge for an area that is struggling for jobs.
- Costs have dropped so much that it now makes sense for companies and industrials to buy solar PV electricity.
This is for just one province in southern Spain – what is going on with the other provinces? These solar schemes are huge, physically and for their implications for the future. Many parts of southern Spain are highly arid and poor for farming. Solar power provides the region with a perpetual income stream, unlike the oil beneath the sands of Saudi Arabia this energy will not run out.
It will take many years before solar PV is cheap enough to compensate for the lower solar irradiation levels of northern Europe. The land is better suited for farming and so it is questionable whether very large scale schemes (which are necessary to improve the economics) would even be possible.
The direction of history is clear and it is clean.
See the original article on History, Future Now, here: Grid parity for solar photovoltaics in Spain today