What are the steps to follow to build a solar plant in Spain

Spain’s energy sector is booming, thanks to a new regulatory framework that encourages investment in this sector. Accordingly, when installing a solar plant in Spain, both the preparation of a viable project and an adequate legal framework are fundamental to guarantee the success of the installation.

There are usually two parties involved in photovoltaic projects:

  • The investors, who provide the necessary financing for the execution of the solar project
  • The developer, who is in charge of bringing said project into fruition.

Once the developer has a viable project, and after reaching the necessary agreements to obtain sufficient investment for its execution, the steps to follow are the following ones.

Securing land rights

Firstly, it is necessary to locate the land for the construction of the solar plant. This land must qualify as rustic land under the General Plan of Urban Development (*) of the town where it is located.

Furthermore, landowners must sign the relevant sale and purchase or lease contracts for at least 25-30 years.

Requesting access points and network connection

Once land rights are secured, it is necessary to ask for the access points and connection to the electricity grid.

The company Red Eléctrica is responsible for granting this permit in Spain. The application must be made jointly with an energy company in the sector, such as Endesa or Iberdrola.

Depositing the guarantees

It is necessary to deposit the appropriate guarantees required by the administrative authorities as proof of the project’s execution. The megawatts of the project will determine both the amount of the guarantees and the competent administrative authorities.

The return of these guarantees depends on the project’s compliance with the law at all times. The administrative authorities may execute them when the project cannot be carried out for reasons attributable to the developer.

Preparing environmental studies

The implementation of a solar plant requires the preparation of a series of studies and reports on the land to guarantee its environmental viability.

It is equally necessary to ask for the corresponding environmental authorizations and permits from the relevant authorities, including, in some cases, the Integrated Environmental Authorization (IEA) (**).

Obtaining permits and licenses

After meeting the previous requirements, it will be necessary to obtain a building permit to start the construction of the solar plant. The city council where the solar plant is located provides this license.

It will also be necessary to obtain authorization from the administrative authorities in Spain for the project. These will be state or regional, depending on the megawatts of the project.

To guarantee the success of the installation of a solar plant in Spain, the developer must prepare a viable project and obtain the financing for its execution. We also recommend professional supervision of the execution from the beginning to prevent any potential risk, especially regarding the deposited guarantees. If you have any question do not hesitate to contact us.

(*) The General Plan of Urban Planning is an instrument for urban planning established in the Spanish urban regulations, which classifies the land and determines the applicable regime.

(**) The Integrated Environmental Authorization (IEA) is a permit to ensure the protection of the environment and people’s health.

This article is not considered as legal advice

Irene Terrazas

A licensed attorney with a Law degree and a double Master's degree, Irene Terrazas specialises in public procurement, business law and company law. Working languages: Spanish, English and French. For any query Contact Irene Terrazas