Spanish renewables giant Iberdrola burst into the UK solar sector with a deal to buy 800MW of projects.

The group’s ScottishPower unit will buy the 17 projects in England, Scotland and Wales from developers Elgin Energy and Lightsource BP.

The solar arrays – which will cost a total of £500m ($686m) to build – are due in service by 2025, said Iberdrola, which currently only has a token 4MW PV presence in a UK market where it is a major force in on- and offshore wind power.

Iberdrola’s new UK assets add to a solar base that already includes some of Europe’s biggest PV plants in its home market of Spain, where it has 2GW in operation.

The Spanish group is a relatively recent convert to solar, with CEO Ignacio Galan declaring in 2017 that it had overcome its previous scepticism about PV’s ability to compete.

Since then, it has enthusiastically embraced the sector and has 31GW under development in Spain, US, Mexico, the UK, Portugal and Italy. Iberdrola wants to have 14GW of PV in service by 2025.