UK large-scale solar developer Island Green Power (IGP) has signed a joint venture to develop a 50MW solar farm in Mallorca as part of a wider international expansion.
The developer, which has a history of developing utility-scale projects in the UK, has signed an agreement with Transworld Solar Valles for the project which is to help meet the Balearic island’s renewable energy target.
The island aims to generate 20% of its energy demand from renewable sources but currently derives just 2%, and IGP claimed that meeting its energy demand was costing Spain around €500 million each year.
IGP is currently working with the Balearic Environment Committee on an impact assessment and recently signed a land lease agreement for the site, which is to be developed near Llucmajor in the centre of the island. The developer expects to receive all necessary permits in the new year.
Ian Lawrie, chief executive at IGP, said that Mallorca had been marketing itself as a “clean energy tourist destination” as it looks to move from legacy fossil fuel generators to renewable assets and had highlighted solar as a particular unobtrusive source of electricity.
“It is also important to remember that whilst we all forecast that these solar plants will generate energy for 25 years, the reality is that they will in fact generate for 40 years or more. Hence, the impact of a solar plant is very meaningful and in the long term it should help to lower electricity prices on the islands,” he said.
The project is expected to generate more than €2 million in tax proceeds over the course of its lifetime and IGP has offered to install rooftop solar on municipal buildings in Llucmajor.
IGP has predominantly developed utility-scale assets in the UK, but Lawrie said it had now been pushed into looking elsewhere since the government enacted cuts to renewable energy subsidies, effectively closing routes to market.
Island Green has looked to develop sites in excess of 20MW in size, which Lawrie said enabled it to achieve cost economies which would allow lower-cost power purchase agreements.
The developer is not the first to branch out into overseas markets and will certainly not be the last. Lightsource has announced major moves into both the Indian and Irish markets, while the likes of Hive Energy and British Solar Renewables have also targeted the UAE and Africa respectively.
More developers are expected to announce the establishment of international offices in the coming months as they look to reduce their exposure to the closing UK ground-mount sector and meet demand for expertise in nascent markets.