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Photovoltaics in Europe’s only desert

SENS builds two PV projects in Spain’s Tabernas Desert

 

The hot, dry expanse of the Tabernas Desert in Andalusia, Spain, resembles a moonscape. This part of the country enjoys enormous popularity because of its extraordinary landscape and status as Europe’s only desert. The sandy setting is not only an attractive destination for excursions and a convincing backdrop for western films but also the perfect location for photovoltaic plants because solar radiation is particularly strong there. SENS Ibérica makes good use of this situation together with its partner Aurinka International , following up the recently completed 50 MWp La Cabrita solar park with another, the 30 MWp EGA, both of which are part of the 180 MWp Tinosa pipeline.

Another milestone in the Tinosa pipeline

With the completion of these two Tinosa solar parks, which have a combined capacity of 80 MWp, SENS takes the expansion of photovoltaics in Spain a further step forward. The 50 MWp La Cabrita was brought into operation and celebrated with an official opening ceremony last year. The solar park was handed over to the customer, Aquila Capital, at the beginning of this year.

La Cabrita solar park STEAG Solar Energy Solutions La Cabrita solar park in the Tabernas Desert, Spain

The EGA PV plant was commissioned beginning of this year and will produce about 60,000 MWh of regenerative energy per year thanks to the high levels of solar radiation in Spain’s Tabernas Desert. This solar park alone will reduce future emissions of CO2 by approximately 28,000 tonnes.

In the coming weeks, the Tabernas II solar park, which will have a total output of 50 MWp and whose construction is already well advanced, will be completed jointly with Aurinka International. Completed last year, the La Serrata substation (280 MWA) bundles the electricity from all four solar parks. Then the power is fed into the national grid operated by Red Eléctrica.

Inauguration solar park La Cabrita in Spain STEAG Solar Energy Solutions Opening ceremony for La Cabrita in the Tabernas Desert 2021 (Source: Aquila)

SENS Ibérica is also the EPC service provider

Thanks to the PV experts at SENS Ibérica, the Spanish subsidiary of SENS, investor Aquila Capital is already profiting from the first two turnkey photovoltaic solutions in the Tinosa pipeline. A project of this nature and scope requires strong partners: the contractor for the whole pipeline is UTE Aurinka SENS, a consortium formed by SENS and its partner Aurinka International.

As the EPC service provider, the SENS team was responsible for material procurement, the construction of the solar park and its commissioning. SENS’ long-term consortium partner Aurinka International had earlier completed the project development work. Their successful cooperation is set to continue in the future with SENS and its partner Aurinka taking over operation maintenance of the solar parks. 

Photovoltaics and species diversity in the desert

With more than 300 days of sun per year, the Tabernas Desert is an optimum location for PV plants. This region in southern Spain not only benefits from regenerative energy from the power of the sun, but also the shade offered to native creatures and plants by the solar modules. Here they can hide away from the scorching sun, in a less harsh habitat that promotes greater species diversity. The mitigating measures required by the environmental authorities incorporate a multitude of features to support native fauna: places for perching, watering and feeding, vegetation for food, dens, nests and much more have been created in the Tabernas Desert.

Picture: Solar parks EGA and La Cabrita (Spain), Marino Romero