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Weekly Round-Up: Gigafactory in Spain, financial close in Armenia, PPA in Sweden

Solar and storage are developing at a relentless pace and pv magazine cannot cover all the interesting developments that are announced day by day. In this weekly Round-Up, we provide a quick review of all facts and deals that should not be off of our readers’ radar.

Extremadura will host the first battery factory in southern Europe. The project to be installed at the Southwest European Logistics Platform in Badajoz will cover a total surface area of 177,000 square meters for an expected investment of €400 million. Initially, the project should have a 2 GW capacity in 2023 and gradually increase to reach 10 GW in 2025, with an option to expand to 20 GW in 2027. “The project is the private initiative of Phi4tech (battery and cathode factories), Lithium Iberia (Las Navas mining project and lithium transformation factory) and individual partners in the case of the Aguablanca mine,” Phi4tech said in a statement, adding that the battery project was part of a wider storage project that includes the construction of a cathode factory and the extraction of lithium and nickel throughout Spain.

Total subsidiary Total Quadran announced the commissioning of a 1.5 MWp project in Vichy. The project includes a photovoltaic parking lot and charging stations for electric vehicles. Nearly 4,000 solar panels on a surface of 9,500 m2 have been installed. “The inauguration of this photovoltaic plant allows the Vichy plant, carbon neutral since 2018, to produce more than 30% of its electricity locally in this way,” said Jean-Yves Larraufie, director of Cosmétique Active Production (CAP) L’Oréal.

Stockholm-based Alight has signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with building materials company Kingspan Group to provide a 1,310 kWp rooftop installation to a factory in Stigamo outside Jönköping, Sweden. “Under the terms of the agreement, the rooftop solar power plant will provide 20% of the factory’s total electricity requirements. Once commissioned, the Stigamo factory solar power plant will be one of Sweden’s largest rooftop solar installations,” Alight said, arguing that rooftops are vastly underutilized areas in Sweden. The installation, which should produce around 1.15 GWh a year, will be completed in summer 2021.

German manufacturer Singulus Technologies reported a 58.8% decrease in sales of photovoltaic equipment in 2020. This week, the company from Kahl am Main reported sales of around €34 million, compared to just under €80 million in 2019 and €127.5 million in 2018. In terms of operating earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), excluding extraordinary impairment charges, the company expects a loss of between €32.5 million and €33.5 million.

Many African industrial units, small and medium enterprises, still suffer from a lack of access to electricity, which is one of the major obstacles to economic and social development in Africa, the African Development Bank (AfDB) reported. According to the AfDB, the rate of access to electricity in Africa increased from 42% in 2015 to 54% in 2019, thanks largely to the financing of interconnection projects between African member countries and the increase in renewable energy projects, which account for 60% of the new 291 MW of electricity generation capacity installed in 2019. The bank mentioned the 580 MW Noor Ouarzazate, operational since late 2018, as a positive example.

Spanish solar tracker company Soltec Power has signed a contract with Madrid-based Elecnor to supply bifacial solar trackers for a 359 MW project in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. “We are very proud to be able to work with Elecnor on this project, reflecting Soltec’s commitment to the Brazilian market while consolidating our leadership position in the photovoltaic sector of this country,” commented Raúl Morales, CEO of Soltec Power Holdings. With the project in the Pirapora region, Soltec increases “its leadership in Brazil with a market share of 35.7% and a track record of 2.2 GW in installed projects.” The company has a total of 8.4 GW installed projects (26% in Brazil).

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Colombia-headquartered Celsia, the energy company of Grupo Argos, achieved consolidated revenues of $3.5 billion with a reduction of 5.1% compared to the previous year due, among other reasons, to the sale of Zona Franca Celsia and other assets to Caoba Inversiones. Generation contributed $1.3 billion, and the distribution business contributed $2.2 billion. The EBITDA reached $1.23 billion with a 2.1% decrease.

Madrid-based Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) has closed the financing deal for the development of the largest large-scale solar power plant in Armenia. The agreement for the 55 MW photovoltaic facility located in the municipality of Mets Masrik in the Gegharkunik region was signed with the support of the Renewable Resources and Energy Efficiency Fund (R2E2), a government entity aimed at promoting the development of the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors in the country. FRV and the Armenian Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure signed in 2018 the Government Support Agreement (GSA) for the design, financing, construction, ownership, and operation of the solar plant.

The Czechia-headquartered Solek Group, through its Chilean subsidiaries, and France’s Natixis, as the issuing bank, have signed a €85.25 million secured facility for the financing of solar power plants in Chile, totaling at least 110 MWp. These solar projects will operate under Chile’s special regime for Small Medium Distributed Generation (SMDG) plants. The SMDG regime was created in 2005 to encourage more distributed and sustainable power generation.

Getxo-based multinational company Solarpack announced on Wednesday plans to build a 4 GW portfolio by the end of 2025. Its growth plan envisages 1.8 GW of projects in operation by the end of 2023, with an additional 0.2 GW under construction in the same period. The company wants to maintain its current geographical diversification, focusing on “high volume and strong growth” markets, such as Spain, the United States, India, and Latin America. It also plans to enter new frontier markets, “with a special focus on Southeast Asia and Africa”.

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Source: pv magazine