Harvesting the sun

Yesterday, Monte alto (9,5 MW),  one of the solar pv plants with the highest yield in the world (14 Million annual Kwh) was officially inaugurated by Acciona Solar in the city of Milagro (Navarra, North Eastern Spain – mentioned in a post some days ago). 

The project will produce clean electricity equivalent to the consumption of five thousand families and will avoid the emission of 13.5 million tons of CO².

It is a peculiar style of plant, of the kind called in Spain “Huerta Solar” (pronounced more or less like wehrtah sohlar) It means literally solar orchard, though, less poetically, they could simply be called solar farms.

A “Huerta Solar” is a grid-connected solar power plant based on individual structures, each with their own investor. Individuals may invest directly in these small photovoltaic installations that become their property but are located on a common site with other owners. These subsystems are usually equipped with automated sun tracking devices that allow them to generate up to 40% more energy than fixed systems. 

 

huerta-solar-in-navarra.jpg

Image courtesy of Acciona Solar – “Huerta solar in Navarra”

Acciona Solar is the company that pioneered the concept of “huertas solares” (they use the terms “solar gardens” in English).  What is more interesting about these “solar gardens” is precisely their ownership structure as a sort of cooperative.  It adds a social dimension to the plant, as around 98% of the 752 individual investors are from Navarra.  

Recently I mentioned the rush of venture capitalists into renewable energy. Here, the investments are available for people with more modest means (prices start at around 70.000 dollars for a 7 kilowatts panel).

According to Solar Plaza (a marketplace for pv solar energy) the returns offered to investors are good and lie around 8-10% per year. The feed-in tariff guarantee for 25 years makes the investment very interesting compared to savings in a bank account. The Huerta Solar is, therefore becoming a new and popular way to invest and make money, that holds promise for other markets as well.   

 

Explore posts in the same categories: Photovoltaics, Solar power

2 Comments on “Harvesting the sun”

  1. Mr. Daniel A. Fox Says:

    Where Can I buy these Solar Panels and other equipment and what is the cost?
    Mr. Daniel A. Fox 4621 Second Ave St. Augustine, Fla. 32095 Ph. 1-904-829-5856

  2. lbrice Says:

    Well, to the best of my knowledge, these installations are all being developed in Spain, for the moment being. I am not sure if you are interested in an overseas investment of that sort.

    Acciona Solar, the company that develops these parks, is not active in the US, but its mother company, Acciona (wwww.acciona-energia.es), definitely is. They have a subsidiary in Chicago, their phone number is 1-773-714-4860, they are surely a better source of information regarding the scope of their activities here. Probably the guys at Solar Plaza are also a good source of information of this kind (e.koot@solarplaza.com)


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