With an installed peak power of 23 MW (updated), the solar park at Jumilla, Murcia (Southeastern Spain) is the world’s current highest capacity PV plant and the most efficient to-date.
It took a team of 400 people 11 months to build the Jumilla plant, where 120,000 solar panels are grouped into 200 separate photovoltaic arrays -owned by different investors- to convert light from the sun into electricity. It’s expected to generate an estimated annual income of $28 million (€19 million) and a reduction in CO2 emissions of 42,000 tons a year.
The plant covers an area of 100 hectares in La Hoya de Vicentes, Jumilla, (see picture) where the local Mayor says 300 days of sun a year are guaranteed. Its total annual production will be the equivalent of the energy used by 20,000 homes.
The project developer was Luzentia Group. Luzentia awarded the construction of the park to Elecnor, a company with a solid background in engineering and the solar industry. The solar arm of Elecnor, Atersa, worked as the systems integrator, with solar panels coming from different firms, due to the size of the project. Besides Atersa, the other providers were Solon, Yingli, Suntech and Ningbo.
Powerlight (Sunpower Corp.) provides its patented single-axis solar trackers to improve the system´s performance.
Different measures were taken following the recommendations from a local association, Juncellus, to ensure high environmental criteria in the construction of the plant. They included replanting an area of almost 5.4 thousand square yards around the plant, water deposits for fires, drinking troughs for birds and other such details.
According to the figures given by the Spanish Minister of Industry at its inauguration earlier this month, renewable energy currently accounts for around 7% of the total primary energy produced in the country, and will reach 10% in 2010 if biomass production is added onto the energy produced by solar and wind farms. Spain will be able to reach the European Union’s target of a 20% share by 2020, he said.