The most powerful public photovoltaic solar plant in Gran Canaria

Antonio Morales affirms that the facilities contribute to Gran Canaria achieving strategic autonomy in energy resources, on its path towards the eco-island. The new facilities have a production of 1.49 MW and, thanks to them, the emission of 1,190 tons of CO2 will be avoided each year.

The most powerful public photovoltaic solar plant in Gran Canaria

The president of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, presented the new photovoltaic solar plant of the North Ecopark of Salto del Negro, in the capital of the Island, which, with a production of 1,49 MW, it has become the most powerful of all the facilities managed by public administrations in the Canary Islands.

President Morales, who was accompanied by the Minister of Environment, Climate, Energy and Knowledge, Raúl García Brink, the Insular Director of Energy, Alexis Lozano, and the Insular Director of the Environment, Elisa Monzón, stated that this new plant “is of utmost importance for the development of renewable energy for self-consumption on the Island” and is the result of the actions that the Island Government continues to develop “to face the energy crisis and to establish our strategic sovereignty in energy resources, on the path of the eco-island that we defend for Gran Canaria.”

Thus, he explained that the budget for the facilities amounts to 2,071,000 euros and that, thanks to them, the emission of 1,190 tons of CO2 per year will be avoided and energy savings of about 400,000 euros per year will be produced. He also stated that its production is equivalent to the average consumption of 445 homes per year or the planting of 4,629 trees and stressed that it practically doubles that of the Gran Canaria Arena plant, which was the most powerful in the Cabildo, until today.

He also maintained that “the energy it produces is not really necessary for the self-consumption of the Ecopark, which is already covered by the biogas energy plants,” he stated. “Therefore, our intention is to take advantage of the opportunities that collective self-consumption offers us and we will link this energy generation to the consumption of Cabildo facilities located within a two-kilometer radius, such as the La Laja tunnels and the Social-health Center Reina Sofía, in addition to evaluating the possibility of establishing an energy community with the residents of the surrounding areas.”

In this scenario, the leader of the island Government highlighted that “Gran Canaria is accelerating the transition as no one would have predicted a few years ago. And this is, especially, thanks to photovoltaic solar energy, which has become a prominent element of our energy transition,” he stated. And, in this sense, he ratified the Council’s will to continue advancing along this path, by emphasizing that “solar energy is clean and affordable, and it is also safe. So we are going to continue with our policy of implementing it as much as possible,” he stated. “It is a way to democratize energy, to break our dependence on fossil fuels, to break the dependence on large suppliers.”

In this regard, he highlighted that, “at the moment, we are carrying out the work on the photovoltaic plant at the headquarters of the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra and we plan to shortly put out to tender for the La Paterna sports pavilion, among others.”

Likewise, he announced that, shortly, the draft of the Energy Transition Agenda of Gran Canaria will be presented, about which he highlighted that, “if anything makes it clear, it is that, to achieve our ambitious decarbonization goal in 2040, we still have to accelerate.” even more so the deployment of solar and wind energy.”

For this reason, he emphasized that “we need a more digitalized, decentralized and flexible energy system, which can support the thousands and thousands of solar panels installed on roofs and the local energy communities that will proliferate in the future along with storage. on a large scale. And we need to electrify our economy.”

And, finally, he insisted that it is essential to have these large-scale storages that allow this integration, “like the Salto de Chira project, which is the most ideal way to store energy and, therefore, make possible the amount of 50 or 70% of clean energy in the entire island territory, and its expansion to Cueva de las Niñas or other reversible pumping projects that are being studied on the coast of Gran Canaria with sea water,” he stressed. “I assure you that the Cabildo is determined to pursue all these objectives to guarantee the green transition.”

Gran Canaria, leader in the penetration of renewable energies

President Morales recognizes that, in the last 15 years, there has been an explosion of photovoltaic solar energy in the Canary Islands, which has been more notable in the last three. “Today, 45% of the photovoltaic energy installed in the Archipelago is located in Gran Canaria,” he assured. “In fact, currently, our Island leads the penetration of renewables in the Autonomous Community and we have gone from 11% in 2013 to 30% in 2023, when the average for the Canary Islands is 19%.”

And, as specified, the installed power in Gran Canaria in 2023 was 1,340 MW, of which 996 MW correspond to conventional generation and 344 MW to renewables, broken down into 228 MW of wind energy and 114 MW of photovoltaic solar energy and 2 MW of biogas, which represents 67 renewable MW more than in 2022.

He also clarified that these renewable data are counted only taking into account the facilities connected to the transmission or distribution networks. That is, it does not include, for example, self-consumption installed in many homes and, in this regard, he detailed that the data provided by ‘E-Distribución’ indicates that, in 2023, on the Island there was a total power of 72.22 MW installed under self-consumption regime.

“In short, we have seen a great growth in self-consumption on this Island, which represents 47% of the total of the Canary Islands, a sign that the citizens and companies of Gran Canaria have followed the solar path to reduce their energy bills. ”, he stressed.

At this point, he added that the Council continues to take the initiative in accelerating the deployment of solar energy on rooftops. “We have just launched a new call for subsidies for photovoltaic self-consumption in homes and SMEs, for a total amount of 825,000 euros, which this year includes as a novelty the granting of aid for its storage,” he explained. “And we are constantly exploring new and innovative ways to install solar panels in the limited spaces we have. From lighter solar panels, agrovoltaics and even floating photovoltaics.”

With this context, the island president described the new photovoltaic solar plant at the Ecoparque Norte as “a paradigmatic case”, given that, due to the limitations of the island territory and the protected spaces, there are currently many obstacles that this type of installations encounter. on a large scale. “The truth is that the obstacles we encounter are legitimate, because it is about making the two things compatible: the protection of the environment, diversity and, therefore, that we also advance in the presentation of renewables makes the facilities on a large scale they are more difficult,” he added.

“For this reason, it is essential to make use of the surfaces already transformed by humans for the development of photovoltaics,” he noted, adding that the Gran Canaria industrial estates present good opportunities to take advantage of solar energy. “And this Ecopark is still an industrial pole in which, by the way, electricity is already produced with the methane generated by the waste deposited in its discharge cells,” he pointed out. “But we couldn’t stop taking advantage of the opportunity that all those thousands of square meters on its roofs offered us.”

Finally, Antonio Morales encouraged maintaining the effort to implement these energies, considering that “this is a privileged moment for companies and the public sector to take advantage of opportunities to expand clean energy and improve energy efficiency. The fight against climate change and the transition towards a greener economy will require a concerted effort from the entire Island by companies, citizens and public institutions,” he concluded.