Currently, Spain has 2055 MW of Concentrated Solar Thermal Power (CSP) in operation and another 300 MW under construction scheduled to come online before the end of 2013.
Currently, Spain has 2055 MW of Concentrated Solar Thermal Power (CSP) in operation and another 300 MW under construction scheduled to come online before the end of 2013. Although most of these plants employ parabolic trough technology (2272.5 MW distributed in 46 plants), there are 3 plants (51 MW) employing power tower technology and 2 plants (31.4 MW) employing linear Fresnel technology.
September 2002, Spain was the first European country to introduce a “feed-in tariff” funding system for concentrating solar thermal power. This funding system granted a premium on top of the electricity pool price of 12 € cents for each kWh output of a solar thermal plant between 100 kW and 50 MW of capacity, which could be changed every four years. It turned out that this was not bankable and that the amount did not cover the cost and risks to make the first projects feasible.
The Royal Decree 436/2004 introduced two alternative remuneration options for new CSP installed capacity. Solar thermal electricity generators who sell their production to a distributor receive as fixed tariff 300% of the reference price (7.2 € cents/kWh) during the first 25 years and 240% afterwards. Solar thermal electricity generators who sell their electricity on the free market receive the negotiated market price of electricity, a premium of 250% of the reference price during the first 25 years, 200% afterwards, and an incentive of 10%. This made solar thermal power projects, for the first time since the vintage Standard Offers of California in the late eighties, bankable and attractive for investors.
In May 2007, these “feed-in tariff” regulations are refined with the Royal Decree 661 which improved both alternative remuneration options for CSP plants. Under the first option, solar thermal electricity generators receive a fixed tariff of 27 € cents/kWh during the first 25 years and 21.5 € cents/kWh thereafter. Under the second option, solar thermal electricity generators receive a premium of 25.4 € cents/kWh during the first 25 years and 20.3 € cents/kWh thereafter as a complement to the electricity market price. The tariff is increased yearly with the CPI minus one percent point. In order to grant dispatchability and firm capacity 12-15% natural gas backup is allowed.
The first commercial plant commissioned in Europe was the PS10 solar power tower developed by Abengoa Solar, which was also the first commercial plant in the world to use tower technology. PS10 is located in Sanlúcar la Mayor (Seville) and went online in mid-2007. By the end of 2009, 8 CSP plants had been commissioned with a total installed capacity of 283 MW.
In December 2009, the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade published the retribution pre-assignment register for CSP facilities that met all the requirements established in Royal Decree 6/2009, 51 CSP projects totaling 2355 MW were included. According to the legislation, the registered plants could join the subsidy system in four phases from 2010 to the end of 2013.
In January 2012, the feed-in tariff (FiT) program implemented in 2007 was cancelled by the Government for new applicants, so that it would not be awarded to CSP plants beyond the 2355 MW approved in 2009 to enter into operation before 2014.
In 2012 and 2013 the Government has approved a series of measures that, according to the Spanish Association of CSP (Protermosolar), reduce the incomes of CSP plants by 37%. These measures are listed below: 7% tax to income to power producer, additional tax to the natural gas the plants use to heat the HTF, cut in the FiT proportional to the natural gas the plant consume (12-15%), removal of the option premium plus electricity market price, the tariff will not be revised with the CPI
Current status of CSP in Spain: By the end of 2013, Spain will have an installed capacity of 2355 MW distributed in 51 plants. The commercial deployment of new CSP plants will not be reactivated in the short term due to the moratorium decreed by the government in 2012.
The Spanish Law 54/1197, of November 27th 1997, on the Spanish Electricity Sector, established the principles of a new model of operation that bases production on free competition. The Royal Decree 2818/1998
developed Law 54/1997 on the Electricity Sector with the modifications introduced by Law 66/1997 of December 30th on Fiscal, Administrative and Corporate Measures and promotes the development of facilities under a special legal system through the creation of a favorable framework without incurring in discriminatory situations that could limit free competition, while establishing differentiated situations for those energy systems that contribute more efficiently to the above mentioned objectives. For facilities based on renewable or waste energies, this incentive has no time limit, since their environmental benefits must be internalized and, due to their special characteristics and level of technology, their considerable cost does not allow them to compete on the free market. The incentives which are established for renewable energies are such that they are going to enable their contribution to the Spanish energy demand to be a minimum of 12 per cent in the year 2010 as established in the Sixteenth Transitional Provision of Law 54/1997 of November 27th on the Electricity Sector.
The 38th additional provision to Law 14/2000, of December 29th, on Fiscal, Administrative and Corporate Measures, extends the allowance that incentive premiums may exceed the top of 90% of the medium electricity price to solar thermal installations. To apply such a premium to this type of installations in accordance with its necessity of incentives, in Royal Decree 841/2002, the Royal Decree 2818/1998 of December 23rd is modified, distinguishing in group b.1, where installations that use only solar energy as primary energy are classified, between two groups, i.e. group b.1.1. for installations that use photovoltaic solar energy as primary energy and group b.1.2. that use solar thermal energy as primary energy, thereby voiding the assignment made in Royal Decree 1955/2000, of December 1st . The Royal Decree 841/2002 granted a premium on top of the electricity pool price of 12 € cents each kWh output of a solar thermal plant between 100 kW and 50 MW of capacity.
On March 27th, 2004, the Royal Decree 436/2004 improves the incentives for solar thermal electricity production in Spain considerably. Solar thermal electricity generators who cede their production to the distributor may receive as fixed tariff 300% of the reference price during the first 25 years after their startup and 240% afterwards. Solar thermal electricity generators who sell their electricity on the free market may receive as premium 250% of the reference price during the first 25 years after their startup and 200% afterwards plus an incentive of 10%. The average electric tariff or reference for the year 2004, defined in the Article 2 of Royal Decree 1432/2002, of December 27, has a value of 7.2072 EuroCent/kWh. This decree also quantifies the utilization of gas for auxiliary firing: The subgroup b.1.2. installations, which utilize as primary energy for the generation of electricity the solar thermal energy, may use auxiliar equipments which consume natural gas or propane only for maintaining the temperature of the heat storage. The consumption of said fuel, in annual computation, must be inferior to the 12% of the electricity production and only during the periods of interruption of the electricity generation, if the installation cedes the electricity to the power distribution company at fixed tariff. Said percentage may reach 15%, without time restrictions of use, if the installation sells its electricity freely in the market.
Those feed-in tariff regulations were refined with the recent Royal Decree 661/2007. Basic change with respect to RD 436/2004 is the decoupling from the market reference price, which increased with oil price increases and automatically increased renewable tariffs with the oil price. A fixed tariff of 0.269375Euro/kWh is granted for CSP plants up to 50MW for 25years, increasing yearly with inflation minus 1 percent point. The option premium plus pool set a premium of 25.4 EuroCent/kWh as a complement to the market electricity price during the first 25 years.
On January 27th, 2012, the Royal Decree 1/2012 cancelled the Feed-in Tariff program, implemented in 2007, for new applicants, so that it would not be awarded to CSP plants beyond the 2354 MW approved in 2009 to enter in operation before 2014.
Concentrating Solar Power Projects in Spain
Concentrating solar power (CSP) projects in Spain are listed below—alphabetical by project name. You can browse a project profile by clicking on the project name.