Iberdrola and Prosolia Energy have obtained the environmental license to build Europe’s largest photovoltaic project in São Domingos, near Santiago do Cacém, with 1,200 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity. The company has begun work on the installation of the Montechoro I and II photovoltaic complex, with 11.57 and 25 MW respectively, in the town of Albufeira, in southern Portugal.
The photovoltaic park, called Fernando Pessoa, will generate environmentally friendly, cost-effective and locally sourced electricity that can meet the annual energy needs of approximately 430,000 households, equivalent to a population almost twice that of the city of Porto.
According to the company Iberdrola, the project incorporates a Socioeconomic Actions Program that involves various initiatives. These measures consist of vocational training programs in the energy sector, support for the tourism industry, and supply of solar energy to nearby communities.
The photovoltaic park, which has been scheduled to commence operation in 2025 and will be located in the vicinity of Sines, a significant logistics hub in Portugal. The park, named “The Fernando Pessoa solar plant” after the Lusitanian writer, aims to establish a new standard for integrating Europe’s renewable energy objectives with practical environmental and social advantages.
Land for the Protection of Biodiversity
The company states that the plant will serve as a model for the harmonious coexistence of new renewable energy projects with the surrounding environment and local communities. The project will incorporate a set of socioeconomic measures, such as offering vocational training in the field of energy, supporting the tourism industry for the area’s inhabitants, and providing solar energy to nearby communities. To preserve biodiversity, the land where the photovoltaic park will be constructed will be utilized by local shepherds for sheep breeding and will also feature beehives, as per Iberdrola’s announcement.
How a Photovoltaic Park Can Benefit the Industry and the Planet?
Photovoltaic parks can help to promote socio-economic development in local communities through the implementation of various initiatives such as professional training programs and support for the tourism industry. In addition to other benefits such as:
- Clean energy production: A photovoltaic park generates electricity from sunlight, which is a clean and renewable energy source. This reduces the dependence on fossil fuels and contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Cost savings: Once a photovoltaic park is installed, the cost of generating electricity is almost zero, as the fuel (sunlight) is free. This can lead to cost savings for consumers and businesses.
- Job creation: The development, construction, and maintenance of a photovoltaic park create jobs in various sectors, including engineering, construction, and maintenance.
- Energy security: A photovoltaic park provides a local source of electricity, which can improve energy security and reduce dependence on imported energy.
- Land use: Photovoltaic parks can be installed on land that is not suitable for other uses, such as arid or desert areas. This can help to reduce pressure on other types of land use, such as agriculture or urban development.
- Community benefits: Photovoltaic parks can also bring benefits to the local community, such as improved infrastructure, increased tax revenues, and the promotion of sustainable development.
Furthermore, Iberdrola plans to invest an additional 3 billion euros in wind and solar energy in the country in the coming years. By the end of last year, the construction of the Alcochete solar complex (46 MW) in the Setúbal district (Lisbon region) had been completed, and the company had also finished two other photovoltaic facilities: Conde (13.5 MW) and Algeruz II (27 MW).