Iberdrola Renovables is to gain a foothold in the US photovoltaic solar power market through the construction of 50 MW of capacity in the country.

The Spanish renewable energy firm, which is the number two player in the US wind energy market, has announced plans for a 30 MW PV plant in Colorado, and a 20 MW PV plant in Arizona.

The projects are in line with the company’s strategy of investing in non-wind opportunities that meet its sustainability and return on investment criteria, says Iberdrola.

The two new power plants – the Alamosa facility in Colorado and the Copper Crossing solar park in Arizona – will be commissioned in 2011. Energy from the plants will be sold to utilities under long-term power purchase agreements.

The USA is a key market for Iberdrola Renovables, which operates 47 wind farms there with a total capacity of 4314 MW. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Iberdrola was the leading player in the US wind sector in 2009, bringing a total of 1241 MW on stream.