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Europe's biggest PV farm gets home-stretch backing from banks

EIB and Spain's ICO to lend developer Iberdrola €285m for under-construction 500MW Núñez de Balboa project

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Spain’s Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO) will together underwrite the development of the EU’s largest PV plant to date, the 500MW Núñez de Balboa project currently being built by utility Iberdrola in Extramadura in the west of the country.

The financing agreement, signed in Madrid by EIB vice-president Emma Navarro, ICO president José Carlos García de Quevedo and Iberdrola chairman Ignacio Galán, will see the banks lend €145m and €140m, respectively, to cover most of the capital cost of €290m project, which will supply clean-energy to some 250,000 people in the region.

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Galán said the financing agreed with the EIB and IOC was in line with Iberdrola’s “commitment to a sustainable energy model that allows the transition to a low-carbon economy” and would allow the company to “continue to make progress towards the objective of tripling our wind and solar capacity in Spain by 2030”.

Navarro stated: “[The EIB is] very pleased to support a project that will strengthen Spanish and European leadership in the transition to a low-emission economy. Our participation proves [our] strong commitment to climate action.

De Quevedo added: “This financing is part of the ICO Group's global strategy which includes sustainability criteria to perform its activities."

Núñez de Balboa, which is slated for commissioning next year, would be eclipsed in size by 2022 by a 590MW solar plant, also in Extramadura, for which Iberdrola is seeking government consent..

The group is planning to build 3GW of solar and wind in Spain’s resurgent renewable energy market by 2022 – the majority of which will be PV.

Research from industry body SolarPower Europe forecasts the booming Spanish market might add up to 19.5GW of new PV by 2023.

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