Date: December 15
Neoen has announced the start of construction of the largest solar park in Portugal, with a capacity of 272 MWp.
The complex will comprise two adjoining solar parks; Torre Bela Solar Farm (68 MWp), wholly owned by Neoen, and Rio Maior Solar Farm (204 MWp), owned in partnership with Aura Power, a global project developer. It is located in Herdade da Torre Bela, 70 km north of Lisbon and connected to the REN substation, in Rio Maior, through a 400 kV overhead line.
Start-up and PPA
The commissioning of the solar park is scheduled for early 2024. Once in operation, its expected production of more than 500 GWh of green energy will correspond to the annual consumption of 110,000 homes.
Around 80% of the renewable energy produced will be purchased by the Portuguese State, under two 15-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) awarded in the 2019 renewable capacity auction. The PPAs are expected to start in the course of 2025. The remaining energy and the certificates of origin will be sold in the electricity market.
About the solar complex
The solar park will be built on plots with an average size of 20 hectares, separated by green corridors to improve connections between the almost 200 hectares of biodiversity protection areas. More than 6,000 cork oaks will be maintained in these protected areas, a protected tree species in Portugal. A curtain of trees and shrubs will shield the panels from view so that the solar farms blend in with the surrounding landscape.
Bernardo dos Santos, CEO of Neoen Portugal, explains that “It gives us great satisfaction to see the Rio Maior and Torre Bela solar parks come off the board: their construction will bring Portugal closer to its goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. I would like to thank the Ministry of Environment and Climate Action and all public institutions for their support in recent years. We would also like to thank the people and local government in the surrounding community who have championed the project and the benefits it will bring.”
Xavier Barbaro, President and CEO of Neoen, concludes “I would like to congratulate our team in Portugal for the work and commitment they put into this project. Neoen has been active in Portugal since 2010 and we are very proud to build the largest solar park to date in the country. We will continue to actively support the Portuguese vision for renewable energy, which is one of the most ambitious in Europe.”