Developer Solarcentury is set to start construction of a new 300MW PV plant in western Spain – one of the first subsidy-free solar developments now moving ahead in the country after the re-election of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez – following the announcement of funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Germany’s Deutsche Bank.

Financial close for the €228m Talayuela project, located near Cáceres in Extremadura, clears the way for what will be one of the biggest PV plants in Europe, capable of producing power for some 150,000 households per year at a “very competitive price” and reducing CO2 emissions by more than 171,000 tonnes a year.

“This project marks a milestone for the Spanish’s renewable energy market, as it highlights the EU support to our growth strategy and it is the first long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) signed for a solar park without any support from feed-in tariffs,” said Dierk Paskert, CEO of Encavis, which is sponsoring the project.

Solarcentury’s general manager for Iberia, Jose Miguel Ferrer, added: “By demonstrating the long-term bankability of this large-scale project through the signing of our PPA in September, we have secured the backing of two of Europe’s largest lenders, the EIB and Deutsche Bank, that share our vision for the project.

“With everything now in place, we look forward to beginning the construction of the project over the coming weeks.” The Talayuela PV plant is expected online in 2020.

The EIB in October took the decision to cease backing new fossil-fuel power projects by the end of 2021 as part of a revised lending policy that it said will help unlock €1trn of climate action and environmental sustainable investment in the decade to 2030, to aid the EU as it seeks to hit a renewable energy target of a 32% share by then.

EIB vice president Emma Navarro said: “As the EU Climate Bank, we are ready to increase our climate ambition to step up to the challenge. For this reason, we are pleased to support Spain’s huge renewable energy potential and help the country to meet its decarbonisation targets.

“Promoting solar energy leads to increasing energy independence and, more significantly, it means reducing the consequences of climate change.”

Spanish utility Iberdrola announced last month it aims to build 400MW of new solar plant in the country, starting with the construction of the Majada Alta and Santa Antonio PV farms, which are also near Cáceres, taking its current in-construction renewable energy portfolio in Spain to more than 2.5GW, including the 590MW Francisco Pizarro project, the largest PV plant under development in Europe.

Industry body SolarPower Europe believes the booming Spanish market might add up to 19.5GW of new PV by 2023, driven by supportive policies and emerging opportunities for corporate power production agreements – such as the recent deal between Iberdrola and Nike – is among the top seven PV market prospects globally.