Portugal extends licensing deadline for winners of 2019 solar auction

The 49MWp Mogadouro plant in the north of Portugal. Image: Efacec.

Winning bidders from Portugal’s 2019 solar auction have been given more time to complete project licensing, the country’s environment ministry has confirmed to PV Tech.

Considering disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the ministry said winning bidders will now have ten additional months to secure licensing.

According to Portuguese publication ECO, authorities are also evaluating whether to extend licensing deadlines for winners of last year’s auction.

Portugal’s 2019 auction granted solar winners a total of 1.15GW in contracts and received a record-low bid of €14.76/MWh that was posted by Akuo Energy for a 150MW plant. The French firm picked up a total 370MW of solar projects through the tender.

The auction last year awarded 669MW of generation capacity and also closed with record-low prices, with Spanish company Enerland bidding €11.14/MWh for a 10MW lot. Other winners included Enel, Audax, Iberdrola and TagEnergy.

According to Pedro Amaral Jorge, CEO of Portuguese renewable energy association APREN, licensing and network availability are two “major problems” that the country must address to reach its clean energy goals.

“[Licensing] is now very time consuming and complex, and requires the promoter to contact several entities with different approaches and response times,” he said earlier this year.

Efacec secures EPC contract for 23.4MWp project

Elsewhere in Portugal’s solar sector, Efacec has received a contract to design and install a 23.4MWp project in the north of the country having recently completed another 49MWp merchant plant nearby.

The Portuguese engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) provider will install 43,000 modules, each with an output of 540Wp/545Wp, at the Mina Tó plant, which is expected to be connected to the country’s grid in the first half of 2022.

Efacec secured the contract from Edisun Power and Smartenergy after carrying out EPC work for them on the Mogadouro plant, which has 120,000 modules and an annual production capacity of 80,000MWh. The 49MWp project was connected to the grid late last year.

Having brought forward Mogadouro without any government subsidies, Switzerland-based Edisun is selling electricity produced from the project on the market, and has a purchase power agreement in place with a Portuguese electricity trader to guarantee income in the first years.

Including the Mina Tó, plant, Edisun Power is currently developing four solar PV projects in Portugal with a combined capacity of more than 150MW.