The Nunez De Balboa solar plant is a 500MWdc (391MWac) photovoltaic (PV) power plant under construction in the Badajoz province, Extremadura, Spain. It is considered to be the biggest PV project in Spain and one of the biggest in Europe.

Spanish electric utility company Iberdrola is the developer and operator of the project. The €300m ($340m) solar project broke ground in March 2019 and is scheduled for commissioning in September 2020.

Once completed, the Nunez De Balboa solar plant will produce 832GWh of clean electricity a year for 250,000 people, while offsetting the emission of 215,000 tonnes (t) of CO2 a year. The project is also expected to create more than 1,000 jobs, during the construction phase.

Iberdrola plans to install additional 2GW of solar and wind power in the Extremadura region of Spain by 2022.

Nunez De Balboa solar plant location and site details

The Nunez De Balboa PV solar plant is being developed on a 1,000ha site at Usagre in the Badajoz province of Extremadura, in southern Spain.

Nunez De Balboa solar farm make-up

The Nunez de Balboa solar farm will be equipped with 1.43 million PV panels weighing 12,100t in total. The direct current (DC) power produced by the panels will be converted into alternating current (AC) with the help of 115 onsite inverters, before being transmitted to a 30/400kV substation at the plant site.

The solar farm will use approximately 2,000km of medium and low-tension cables.

Grid connection

The Nunez de Balboa solar farm will be connected to the national grid by a 12.3km-long 400kV transmission line connecting the 400kV Bienvenida substation located 12km away from the project site.

Power purchase agreement

The Nunez de Balboa solar project is backed by three long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed in the second half of 2018.

Iberdrola signed a ten-year PPA for the project with Kutxabank in July 2018. It is the world’s first PPA to be signed between a power company and a bank.

The second PPA for the project was signed with Euskaltel in October 2018, which represents the first PPA in Spain to be signed with a telecommunications operator.

The third PPA was signed with Uvesco Group, a Spanish food distribution company operating under the trade name BM Supermercados, in November 2018. It is also the first PPA in Spain to be signed with a food distribution company.

Contractors involved

Spanish engineering consultancy CEMOSA was awarded the technical assistance contract for the Nunez de Balboa solar project in February 2019.

CEMOSA will oversee the civil, electrical, mechanical, and commissioning works of the PV solar farm for 19 months.

Other Spanish companies involved in the project are Cubillana, Elaborex, Instituto Aeronautico, Imedexsa, and Ecoenergias del Guadiana.