Image credit: Lightsource bp

Renewable energy company Lightsource bp has announced the operation of its first renewable energy project in Spain.

The 247MWp Vendimia solar energy project in Zaragoza will generate electricity that will be supplied to bp’s European power trading business under a long-term power purchase agreement. The project will power over 107,000 local homes.

Some 615,000 bifacial solar panels were installed on 650 hectares of land. The panels are fitted on multi-row tracker technology to enable them to face the sun as its position changes. Engineering firm Prodiel, which was selected by Lightsource bp for the construction of the project, installed two overhead energy transmission lines, 18km and 20km lines, to transport the electricity to the local grid. Prodiel will also be responsible for operations and maintenance services over a period of two years. The project was responsible for the creation of 600 local jobs.

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The financing for the project was secured from NatWest, Intesa Sanpaolo, Santander and Bankinter.

Fernando Roger, country head for Lightsource bp Spain, said: “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.”

The project is expected to help Spain and the European Union to achieve its renewable energy expansion and carbon emissions reduction targets.

Lightsource bp says the development falls under efforts by the company to expand its footprint in the European and global renewable energy market. The company has grown its employees from just one to over 60 within a period of two years in Spain. An additional 30 full-time employees are expected to be recruited in Spain by end of 2021 and expand the renewables portfolio by an additional 148.5MWp this year.

Felipe Arbelaez, senior vice president for zero-carbon energy bp, adds:: “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.

The 3GW renewable energy milestone in Spain was reached this June with the acquisition of 703MW across three projects in Aragon.