• 247MWp flagship solar energy cluster begins commercial operation
  • Project financing by NatWest, Intesa Sanpaolo, Santander and Bankinter
  • Producing green electricity equivalent of powering over 107,000 local homes

24th June 2021, Madrid – Lightsource bp has powered up its 247MWp flagship solar project Vendimia in Zaragoza, Spain. The five-project cluster was constructed safely during the COVID-19 pandemic and commercial operation recently began. The total power output will be supplied to bp’s European power trading team under a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

Fernando Roger, Country Head for Lightsource bp Spain commented:

“The connection of our Vendimia project, truly demonstrates the resilience of solar. We had to face many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but our team and trusted partners remained focussed, and now we have completed our first project in Spain. We would also like to extend a special thank you to all the landowners involved for their continued support on this project.

“Lightsource bp’s ever-increasing local project pipeline will provide a positive contribution to Spain and the wider European Union’s renewables targets, with the many co-benefits that our projects deliver, like boosting biodiversity and local economic development.”

Felipe Arbelaez, senior vice president for zero carbon energy bp said:

“It’s fantastic to see the safe start-up of this first project in Spain, and for Lightsource bp to achieve an impressive 3GW pipeline in just two years. Through disciplined investment and safe execution, we are delighted to see the next chapter of bp’s energy story in Spain come online.

This project is also a great example of the power of bp’s integration capabilities as our expert power trading team will offtake the power generated, supporting the financial stability of the project and meeting bp’s strict returns threshold.”

At the opening ceremony, Carlos Barrasa, head of country for bp Spain commented, “The Vendimia solar project that we are inaugurating today in Zaragoza is great example of the fulfillment of bp’s ambition in its transition to an integrated energy company, and our contribution to building a low-carbon future”.

Around 615,000 bifacial solar panels have been installed, over 650 hectares of land on multi-row tracker technology enabling the panels to follow the sun, maximising energy generation efficiency. In addition, two overhead transmission lines at 18km and 20km were constructed to efficiently deliver the solar power into the local network.

The construction process was handled by Lightsource bp’s appointed contractor, Prodiel (an Andalusian Engineering, Procurement and Construction company) and over 600 local jobs were created during that time. Prodiel will continue to maintain the solar cluster under an Operations & Maintenance agreement for the next two years.

Going beyond solar to boost local biodiversity

Huge care has been taken when considering the sensitivities of the local environment during the development and construction process of this project. The long-term nature of the solar farm (which will typically be in place for around 30 years) provides opportunities to boost local biodiversity. These measures include native species planting and a vegetation screen for a livestock path that runs through the site.

Lightsource bp also worked closely with NGO DEMA to install a Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) nesting building on the perimeter of the site to provide a safe nesting area for a new colony of this small falcon. The main goal is to develop a Lesser Kestrel releasing programme, for a minimum of four years, to create a new colony for this species across the enclave.

Mario Serrano Villate, CEO of Prodiel added:

“The implementation of a large-scale PV project of this magnitude has been a huge challenge and success. Thanks to the cooperation between Prodiel and Lightsource bp teams, it has been possible to complete it satisfactorily, fulfilling all quality and safety standards in an extremely complicated environment due to the pandemic.”

Pepe Antolín, President of DEMA said:

“The Lesser Kestrel is a gregarious and migratory bird that requires innovative breeding and releasing programmes to help protect them. Their population in Spain has been in historical decline and conservation efforts will help with the longevity of the species. The falcon tower proposed by Lightsource bp and developed by DEMA will provide a safe place for the Lesser Kestrel to nest and is a prime example of how common endeavours can help species to flourish.”

Lightsource bp continues exponential growth in Spain

In just two short years, Lightsource bp’s local team in Spain, based in Madrid has grown from 1 to over 60 full-time employees and the team expects to get a further 148.5MWp of solar projects into construction this year across Aragon.

Lightsource bp aims to recruit for an additional 30 full-time roles in Spain this year as the company continues to build on its rapidly increasing project development pipeline, currently at 3GW. Most recently the company has announced co-development agreements with RIC Energy, Iberia Solar and Grupo Jorge The local team continues to progress solar projects efficiently and safely despite constraints of the global pandemic.

Lightsource bp prides itself on the responsible integration of solar into local markets, ensuring its projects go beyond providing renewable power in offering local investment, employment and biodiversity measures.

For more images and information, please watch our project video or visit our press centre.