EHN opens the largest photovoltaic solar plant in Spain

EHN opens the largest photovoltaic solar plant in Spain

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On January 21, the EHN company inaugurated in Montes de Cierzo, near Tudela, a 1.2 MWp photovoltaic plant, equipped with 400 followers with 12,602 photovoltaic panels, on an area of ​​70,000 square meters, after making an investment of 10 , 85 million euros. The average radiation at the site is 1,600 kWh per square meter per year and the production will be 1.9 million kWh.

The opening ceremony was attended by the President of the Government of Navarra, Miguel Sanz, the General Director of the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE) María Isabel Monreal, the CEO, Esteban Morrás, as well as representatives of ASIF, Greenpeace, the various administrations involved, renewable energy companies and the media.

The EHN plant has a 10% stake from IDAE and has obtained the backing of the V Framework Program of the EU and the Program for the Promotion of Scientific Research (PROFIT) of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The novelties presented by the EHN photovoltaic plant in Navarra are several and important. The first is the system of galvanized steel trackers facing south with an inclination of 45 degrees, developed by EHN and AESOL, through a column of meter and a half built by Inmetusa equipped with a computer controlled motor, which rotate daily from this to west on its vertical axis following the path of the sun (azimuth tracking), so that the radiation falls perpendicularly on the panel, thereby increasing electricity production. The monitoring system in the entire generation field is a novelty, not only in Spain, but throughout Europe. Part of the plant is located on a slope, with a slope of between 1% and 8%, which is quite an advantage to maximize the incident solar radiation.

The second is that the plant is a true museum of the current situation of photovoltaic solar energy, as it has 12 different models of five different photovoltaic technologies (polycrystalline, monocrystalline, and amorphous silicon, CIS thin film and triple layer), manufactured by BP Solar, Isofoton, Atersa, Kyocera, Mastervolt, ASE, Siemens, Unisolar and EPV. By operating under similar conditions, for the first time in Spain reliable data on costs, yields and other issues can be obtained from a representative sample of the main existing technologies and manufacturers.

Actually there are two facilities, one of centralized generation, with 280 followers with 10,080 panels of the model BP 585 of Saturn technology, manufactured by BP Solar, with a power of 856.6 kWp, destined to obtain the highest production of electricity, and another of distributed generation, with 120 trackers with 2,522 panels of eleven different types that add up to 321.11 kWp. The followers of the plant are of the Buskil k3 model from AESOL and the inverters that convert direct current into alternating current are from INGETEAM. The electricity generated in low voltage (380 volts) is transformed to medium voltage (20,000 volts) in the plant's own premises and conducted by underground pipeline to an EHN substation 2 km away, where the voltage rises to 66 kilovolts, and it joins the general electricity distribution network.

The profitability of the plant, like all photovoltaic electricity, depends on the current premium system. Being a plant with more than 5 kWp, it receives a premium of 0.18 euros per kWh, compared to 10-12 pesetas for wind power. To this must be added the incentives approved by the Government of Navarra for this type of action, with subsidies of between 40% and 50% of the investment through tax deductions.

Photovoltaics shine little in Spain

Photovoltaic solar energy does not pollute, but it is expensive and will remain so for some time. The reasons for supporting it are obvious, since only in this way will a demand be created that will allow it to generate sufficient economies of scale to reduce costs, and make it more competitive, allowing it to penetrate new markets. It is the classic story of the chicken and the egg, with the no less classic learning curve.

Furthermore, photovoltaics already compete with conventional sources in numerous applications, such as all those in which small electricity consumption is required in places far from the grid. Photovoltaic energy today is the most social source of all, as it is the only way to provide electricity to the 1.8 billion people who still lack electricity in the Third World. In the ever closer future, it will be able to become an important part of a sustainable electricity system, without carbon dioxide emissions or the generation of radioactive waste.

The Renewable Energies Promotion Plan in Spain aims to have 143.7 MWp (peak megawatts) installed in 2010, of which 135 MWp new, of which 61 MWp should be installed before 2006 (15% in facilities isolated and 85% in installations connected to the network). Between 1998 (base year) and 2001 only 6.9 MWp were installed. At the current rate, the Plan's objectives for 2010 will be achieved in 2056. In 2001, only 3.5 MWp were installed, almost three times less than the 9 new annual MW provided for in the Plan.

While in Spain in 2000 we only had 12.1 MWp of photovoltaic power, in Germany they had 87.5 MWp (seven times more than in Spain), thanks to the 100,000 solar roofs program, which plans to install 300 MWp between 1999 and 2004 Even the Netherlands, with little sun and surface area, had more installed power (12.2 MWp).

The R.D. 1663/2000 established the administrative conditions for the connection to the network of small facilities, but bureaucratic difficulties and scarce financial aid prevent reaching the already modest objectives of the Plan. The premiums for photovoltaics are insufficient (0.36 euros / kWh for installations of less than 5 kWp and 0.18 euros / kWh for those greater than 5 kWp), but the real bottleneck is the bureaucratic difficulties of all kinds due to part of the Administration and electricity companies. The price of the photovoltaic kWh, with the premiums, amounts to 0.397 euros (maximum) and 0.217 euros (minimum), compared to 0.72 and 0.35 in Austria, 0.48 in Germany and 0.39 and 0.23 in Portugal.

In Spain, 18.7 MWp were manufactured in 2000 (6.5% of world production), more than 80% destined for export. The two largest manufacturers are Isofoton and BP Solar, although 182 companies operate in the sector. The prices of photovoltaic modules have fallen a lot, from 7.76 euros / Wp in 1990 to 3.3 euros / Wp in 2000. And the higher the demand, the lower the prices, which will create a new demand. The problem is to start, and hence the importance of financial aid throughout this decade.

In this context of slow development, the tireless work of a company like EHN, and the support of the Government of Navarra for renewable energies in general, and photovoltaics in particular, becomes more important.

EHN, a sustainable multinational

EHN is a Navarran company that started in 1989 with a small office and three employees. It currently has 270 people, and they have created 2,700 indirect jobs in Navarra and another 2,000 in Castilla La Mancha.

"The objective is to become one of the multinationals of the new sustainable energy model", according to Esteban Morrás, CEO of EHN. The company probably would not exist without Esteban Morrás, a tireless worker who, with his tenacity, intelligence, enthusiasm, charisma and clear ideas, has managed to embark the regional government (and many others) in one of the most interesting business projects that has there have been in Spain in the last decade.

EHN is one of the most sustainable Spanish companies, something rare in these lands and what is even more strange, they have had business success. The EHN company was created in 1989 to promote renewable energy. Its original capital was divided between 38% of the Government of Navarra through SODENA; 37% of the Iberdrola group; 15% from Cementos Portland and 10% from Caja de Ahorros de Navarra.

Last year, after a long process full of tensions, it parted ways with Iberdrola, which is more interested in natural gas combined cycle plants than in renewable energies, and in wind power in particular, not to mention nuclear rhetoric. along the lines of Loyola de Palacio and the president of the Nuclear Safety Council. After the break with Iberdrola, a new stage begins, with a very clear goal, energy sustainability, which means betting on all renewables, and in the medium term also on hydrogen and fuel cells.

Thanks to EHN, wind energy was developed in Spain, which was a marginal source, until in Navarra EHN began to install wind farms, linked to a whole strategy of industrial and technological development. By 1999, EHN already had eleven wind farms completed in five zones. They were El Perdón, in the vicinity of Pamplona, ​​Leitza-Beruete, in the north of Navarra, the four parks (San Martín de Unx, Leoz, Lerga and Peña Blanca) installed in the Sierra de Guerinda, the Echagüe wind farms and Alaiz, both in the Sierra de Alaiz, and the parks of Izco, Aibar and Salajones in the Sierra de Izco and its foothills. In addition to the establishment in Navarra, the wind power activity of the company left Navarra, through Energías Eólica Europeas, S.A. (EEE), beginning to operate in Castilla-La Mancha and in other Autonomous Communities.

Today EHN is already a small multinational, with a clear objective: to make a sustainable energy model a reality, although for this it is an exception in the capitalist system. And why is it an exception? Because it does not seek the maximum business benefit at any environmental and social cost. The large electricity companies are only concerned with the income statement, despite climate change and the generation of radioactive waste. EHN is something else. They are smart and will certainly not embark on ruinous projects, but they are clear about the need for a new energy system based on efficiency and renewable sources. They started with mini-hydro, they continued with wind power, they have entered biomass and solar, and they are already considering the new hydrogen economy. From Navarra they went to Albacete, and today they think of a global world, where a small company wants to become one of the sustainability multinationals, with a significant participation of public capital, in these neoliberal times. EHN wants to contribute to sustainability, but also to create jobs and a new, less predatory corporate culture. The Tolosa photovoltaic plant is a sum and goes on.

Video: Solar In Spain (July 2022).


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