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New solar park provides VELUX Group with renewable power

Solar

05-28-2024

A large solar park developed for the VELUX Group to meet its renewable power needs in Europe is now fully operational and connected to the local electricity grid in Spain. The 54 MWp-photovoltaic (PV) park integrates renewable electricity production, agriculture and biodiversity. It is the first Agri-PV solar park global renewable energy company BayWa r.e. built in Spain, based on a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with VELUX.

In November 2022, the VELUX Group and BayWa r.e. announced a PPA to develop two large solar PV parks in southern Spain: one in Gerena, close to Seville, and the other in Alhendín, near Granada. The Alhendín park was recently completed and is now delivering electricity to the local power grid.

With Alhendín fully operational, VELUX has achieved its 100% renewable electricity goal, while enabling a new renewable energy plant in Europe. The park consists of more than 85,000 solar panels and produces 96.8 GWh of electricity annually, equivalent to the electricity consumption of 24,700 households.

Pioneering Agri-PV installation

The Alhendín solar park is a pioneering Agri-PV installation, combining renewable energy generation and agriculture: about 10% of the park is designed to allow farming machinery to pass between solar panels. This project is the first of its kind for BayWa r.e. in Spain.

“The completion of the Alhendín solar park and the connection of it to the Spanish electricity grid is a great achievement, allowing VELUX to meet its renewable electricity targets,” says Kim Jonas, Energy & Climate Director of The VELUX Group. “The agricultural and biodiversity components of the project resonate well with our dual focus on climate action and improving biodiversity. In partnership with BayWa r.e., we are now implementing the concept of Solar Plant Symbiosis, which seeks to integrate solar parks with nature and community for mutual benefits.”

Daniel Gäfke, Global Director of Projects and Executive Member of the Board at BayWa r.e., adds: “We are delighted to support VELUX in reaching its goal of 100% renewable electricity for its European operations. This achievement represents an important milestone in BayWa r.e.’s own commitment to advancing the corporate energy transition that is so pivotal for meeting global climate targets. We are aligned with VELUX to go above and beyond normal standards, which allows us to implement pioneering elements like Agri-PV, as well as improving biodiversity and fostering community engagement, for maximum local value creation.”

Solar Plant Symbiosis
The Solar Plant Symbiosis includes a suite of measures to enhance biodiversity and foster community involvement. The project is currently being developed in partnership with the two Spanish universities Universidad de Córdoba and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

So far, the scope of the Solar Plant Symbiosis includes the following additional measures:

  • Baseline studies, digitalisation and monitoring of vegetation
  • Agri-PV pilot and rainwater collection system
  • Grass planting with natural seeds and wildflower species
  • Wildlife refuges, ponds for amphibians, bird drinking tanks, nest boxes and posts
  • Hatching area to protectthe endangered Lesser Kestrel bird species
  • Steppe habitat improvement
  • Monitoring and assessment of measures to create a guide of best practices that can be replicated in other projects
  • Social actions in the area, such as workshops with local interest groups and educational school visits

Looking ahead
These measures in the Alhendín park will be established step by step and are expected to be fully realised by Spring 2025. The Gerena solar park is awaiting regulatory approval locally and is scheduled to be completed in 2025. The capacity of the Gerena park is expected to be about 60 MWp.

When both solar plants are fully operational, they will generate 167 GWh of renewable electricity annually for VELUX, equivalent to the electricity consumption of approximately 45,000 European homes. About 80% of the electricity produced from the plants will be generated due to the PPA with VELUX. The PPA will reduce the carbon footprint of the VELUX Group by approximately 40,000 tonnes of CO2 from the company’s European operations and activities on a yearly basis. 

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