The Francisco Pizarro solar plant is a 590MW photovoltaic (PV) project under development in the Torrecillas de la Tiesa and Aldeacentenera regions of Spain.

Estimated to cost £265.71m (€300m), the Francisco Pizarro solar power generation project is being implemented by Spanish electric utility company Iberdrola. It is expected to be one of Europe’s biggest solar plants when commissioned in 2021.

The project plan was submitted to the General Directorate for Environmental Quality and Assessment of the Ministry for Ecological Transition for approval in June 2019, while the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report was approved in 2020.

The Francisco Pizarro solar power project is expected to supply enough electricity to power up to 375,000 households while offsetting an estimated 245,000t of CO2 emissions annually.

The project is part of Iberdrola’s approximately £29bn (€32bn) global investment plan for sustainable growth between 2018 and 2022.

Location and site details

The Francisco Pizarro solar power project site will be spread over a 1,300ha-site between the Extremaduran municipalities of Torrecillas de la Tiesa and Aldeacentenera in Cáceres, western Spain.

Francisco Pizarro solar power plant make-up

The  Francisco Pizarro solar power plant will consist of more than 1.59 million solar panels spread over 142 installation blocks. Each 370Wp polycrystalline silicon PV panel will measure 991mm in length and 956mm in width.

The PV solar modules will be mounted on approximately 17,714 horizontal solar trackers and the maximum height of the modules from the ground will be 3.91m.

Each solar block will have an inverter for converting direct current (DC) into alternate current (AC), and a transformer to raise the voltage to 30kV.

The project will also involve the construction of an electrical substation with two 30/400kV transformers on a 5.67ha-site.

The solar facility will have a 36.8km-long perimeter fence and more than 44.3km of 4m-wide interior gravel roads.

Francisco Pizarro solar power evacuation

The electricity generated at the Francisco Pizarro solar power plant will be evacuated through a 32.06km-long, 400kV power transmission line which will connect to the existing Almaraz electrical substation, owned by Red Eléctrica de España (REE).

The double-circuit power transmission line will run through the regions of Aldeacentenera, Torrecillas de la Tiesa, Deleitosa, Jaraicejo, Casas de Miravete, Romangordo, Higuera de Albalat, and Almaraz (Cáceres).

Power purchase agreement

In November 2020, German pharmaceutical company Bayer signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Iberdrola to purchase 100% of renewable electricity from the Francisco Pizarro solar power plant starting from 2022.

The project is expected to supply electricity to Bayer’s nine sites, including three manufacturing plants, five research and development (R&D) centres, and its central facilities on the Iberian Peninsula for a period of 10 years.

Contractors involved

Ingeteam signed an agreement worth £16.62m (€18.6m) with Iberdrola to supply photovoltaic (PV) inverters for the Francisco Pizarro project in May 2020.