Covers environment, transportation, urban and regional planning, economic and social issues with a focus on Finland and Portugal.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Photovoltaic Solar in Portugal

Spain & Portugal - global irradiation & PV potential for optimum angle
Šúri M., Huld T.A., Dunlop E.D. Ossenbrink H.A., 2007. Potential of solar electricity generation in the European Union member states and candidate countries. Solar Energy, 81, 1295–1305,

Portugal is one of the European countries with the highest levels of solar radiation (particularly the Alentejo region), enjoying excellent conditions for photovoltaic conversion with generating indices of about 1500 kWh/year for each installed kWp (in optimal conditions). For example, in terms of average annual number of hours of sun Portugal varies between 2,200 and 3,000 h, while Germany varies between 1,200 and 1,700 h.

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Until 2007 there were predominantly local isolated autonomous systems (<20 kWp). Afterwards, new solar power projects for centralised systems emerged, adding more than 14 MW to the installed capacity in 2006 (3,4 MW) - an increase of more than five times. Among these systems, the following started operation in 2007:

- 11 MWp single-axis tracking power plant in east Alentejo (Serpa municipality)
- 2,15 MWp two-axis tracking power plant in south Alentejo (Almodovar municipality)
- 756 kWp a-Si plant in Mertola (south of Portugal, Alentejo region)

Cumulative PV Power Capacity Installed in Portugal (1995-2007)

Image: IEA-PVPS - Portugal country report 2007

As we can note, the Portuguese PV market increased strongly in 2007, from a cumulative power of 3,4 MWp to 17,8 MWp, due to the completion of the mentioned power plants.

A 46,4 MWp (62 MWp) single-axis tracking system centralised PV plant in east Alentejo (Moura municipality), promoted by the local Municipality and Acciona Energia (Spain), is expected to be completed by the end of 2008.

There is also a great potential for integrated systems in buildings (BIPV). This can lead to a creation of a sustained market - the installation of 1.5 kWp systems in new buildings could result in an annual potential of 60 MWp.

Cluster of Photovoltaic

Open Renewables, Lobo Group: produced high quality photovoltaic modules on an exclusive basis for Siemens Solar, from 1994 to 2001 and for Shell Solar, from 2001 to 2006. It is an independent producer since 2007, currently with an installed capacity of 45 Mwp and about 950,000 units produced since 1994. It exports 99% of production to 19 countries in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.

Solar Plus: manufacturers of photovoltaic modules in amorphous silicon, 2nd generation. They initiated a pilot phase of production in late 2007 with initial capacity of 5.5 MW expandable to 11 MW.

Investhome, DST Group: manufacturers of photovoltaic modules in crystalline silicon.

Martifer Solar: manufacturers of photovoltaic modules in crystalline silicon. They began the construction of a production unit that will be ready by the end of 2008 with a capacity of 50 MW per year. This production unit will have the capacity to double the production in a short space of time and will be fully automated.

WAS Energy: manufacturers of optical equipment and tracking for photovoltaic systems based on their own patents. The WAS Energy has a production line at the Taguspark.

A module assembly factory will be installed in the Moura Project, which will be described with more details in the next article of this series, focusing on photovoltaic solar.

There is also an industry of power electronics and good installers in the market. It was created a Technical committee of Photovoltaic standardization (CTE 82) for monitoring the European and international standards.

Fundamental research activities are carried out in a dozen public institutes and university R&D units mainly in the area of thin film technologies, crystalline silicon ribbon and organic cells.

EU Objectives

Europe - global irradiation & PV potential for optimum angle
Šúri M., Huld T.A., Dunlop E.D. Ossenbrink H.A., 2007. Potential of solar electricity generation in the European Union member states and candidate countries. Solar Energy, 81, 1295–1305,

The EU objective is to achieve, by 2015, the competitiveness of PV with the cost of electricity to consumers of 0.15 € / kWh (or a cost of the system of 2.5 € / Wp).

To obtain these goals it is necessary to create new materials and manufacturing processes, reducing the cost; improve the performance of BOS (balance of system) components; acting in the field of Standards and Quality and in the social area.

Some benefits include the creation of jobs associated with market promotion and evolution of PV. The investment in the area of photovoltaic systems can create companies of manufacturing, engineering, installation and maintenance and employment with a particular focus at the local level.

Manufacturing: 7 jobs per MW produced.
Engineering and Installation: 30 jobs per MW installed.
Maintenance: 2 jobs per MW installed.

Portugal objectives: 2007-2010

In 2001, Portugal assumed a goal in the promotion of renewable energies. Within the framework of the European Parliament and the European Council Directive 2001/77/CE, the country undertook to increase renewable energies' contribution to 39% of annual gross electricity consumption by 2010.

In order to reduce energy imports by substitution with local renewable sources, fight climate change and reduce greenhouse effect gases emissions (GEE), the actual Government reviewed the goals defined in Cabinet Resolution 63/2003: increase the goal set for 2010 for power generation based on renewable energies from 39% to 45% of total electricity consumption.

With respect of PV and to ensure the goals:

Solar energy: construction of the world's largest photovoltaic plant (the Moura plant) and ensure link to micro-generation policies. The Moura Photovoltaic Power Station represents about 30% of the objectives of photovoltaics in Portugal (national target of 150 MW).

Micro-generation: program for installing 50,000 systems until 2010, with incentives to the installation of water heating systems based on solar energy in existing houses. This program could create new business opportunities for installers, industry and energy service companies, stimulating the market of renewables. The micro-generation program is mainly oriented to electricity consumers. The special regime applies exclusively to renewable sources (solar PV, wind, hydro, biomass and fuel cells) with the maximum of interconnection power by application limited to 3,68 kW (solar PV national target of 22 MW).


IEA-PVPS, Portugal country report 2007 - PV technology status and prospects,

Publicações do MEI - Livros de Energia,

This article is the part 1 of the article: “Alentejo: Solar Region”

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Anonymous said...

What an interesting and readable post with lots of facts and information about this phenomena. A scary reminder too - we need power, but how to get it the right way?

Anonymous said...

I like your blog. very informative and attractive too. thanks

Anonymous said...

Great blog site! We are new to Evora having lived her for the past 6 months. I think it is a big mistake to count on all the hype that has been going around about TGV rail, Alqueva tourism, golf courses, etc., etc. Don't get me wrong, we love it here, but the world is in the process of entering a long period of economic recession if not depression and the money that was generated by the US and the EU running their printing presses nonstop for the last 8 years in particular, and thus creating the worldwide real estate bubble that is now deflating very rapidy, is gone. The Alentejo only receives 5% of the tourists who come to Portugal in the best of times. The outlook for hoards of Spanish or English tourists, both of who's countries are entering a financial melt-down, coming here to party on the lake and buy ridiculously overpriced properties is now slim to none, and that situation is likely to last for a very long time perhaps 10 years or more. Local solutions are needed and if people continue to look to Big Brother government to supply the answers and the money they will be very dissapointed. The good reality to what is going on economically is that soon the entire worldwide economic system will by necessity have to switch from it's errant path of the past 30 years, a path that rewarded exponentially increasing debt and punished hard work and initiative, to rewarding hard work, and creative initiative. The key to this as always is the people. Those countries where the people wake up and get off their butts to inovate micro solutions to energy and food production will be able to progress forward. Those that don't will drown in their own debt. The Alentejo is a region rich in sunshine, cork and olive trees. (And cows). In my opinion for it to prosper the people need to reject the economic bubble mentality which is now a disaster and focus on utilising what it can give, food and energy.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I (she's Portuguese) have just bought a house near Sever do Vouga, and we are lokking into the possibilities of installing a photovoltaic system, and solar heating too. This blog has helped a lot and we will be revisiting many times!