Galp unveils a new Solar Farm in Alcoutim

The farm, opened in late September, is bigger than 350 football fields combined and marks the energy corporation´s first major contribution to the generation of renewable solar electricity with a local and national impact

The 252,532 solar panels, capable of generating a total of 144 MWp of power, extend over an area of 250 hectares (around 350 football fields) for as far as the eye can see. The estimated annual production capacity in Alcoutim is 250,000 megawatt-hours of electricity, enough to provide renewable energy to more than 80,000 families while preventing the emission of 75,000 tons of CO2 a year. The four recently opened farms — S. Marcos, Viçoso, Pereiro and Albercas — have increased Galp´s current installed power generation capacity to1.4 GW among its eleven photovoltaic projects in operation or under construction in Portugal and Spain, capable of producing around 2.4 TWh of renewable energy in 2023, thereby guaranteeing 5.5% of the Iberian Peninsula's photovoltaic power.

According to the Chairman of Galp, Paula Amorim, “the Alcoutim farm represents yet another step in the execution of the company´s strategy of sustained growth in the generation of renewable electricity in Portugal”.

The Alcoutim farms are the first major investment in solar energy in Portugal and “illustrate the company's commitment to advancing the transformation of the energy system towards a sustainable paradigm”, says Georgios Papadimitriou, Executive Vice-President of Renewables, Innovation and New Business at Galp.

From local to national

Alcoutim is linked to the future of both Galp and the country. “It lies at the forefront of energy transition, which cannot be achieved without the involvement and support of communities, from town councils to other local institutions and the involvement and energy of citizens”, underlines the head of the Renewables department. “This spirit of togetherness has enabled us to announce Alcoutim as a success story of sustainable development on a national scale”, he adds.

As far as Georgios Papadimitriou, Executive Vice-President of Renewables, Innovation and New Business at Galp, is concerned, the Alcoutim project “is an illustration of our commitment to advancing the transformation of the energy system towards a sustainable paradigm”

The development of renewable energy is the basis of the transformation Galp intends to implement in society as a whole, from industry to transport, mobility, in addition to energy consumed at home.

Galp CEO Filipe Silva is in no doubt that the energy generated by this Algarve-based solar farm will soon end up being used in the Portuguese automobile fleet: “we are going to transform the Alcoutim sun into fuel. The electricity generated here is delivered to the Tavira substation, enters the national grid, arrives in Sines and goes directly to an electrolyser to transform it into hydrogen. This Portuguese 'oil' costs a lot of money and requires a lot of talent, but we will need to achieve 500-600 megawatts of power in the next few years”.

According to Filipe Silva, Galp CEO, the electricity generated at the Alcoutim Solar Farm will be delivered to Sines to be transformed into hydrogen

In fact, says Osvaldo Gonçalves, the Mayor of Alcoutim, “this project meets structural and strategic objectives at the local and national economic level by helping to achieve the country's demanding decarbonisation goals. Mention should also be made of the manner in which Galp intervenes in social affairs, tourism and civil defence in Alcoutim”.

The partnership between Galp and the town of Alcoutim provides the region and its communities with added value, including, highlights Mayor Osvaldo Gonçalves, “in the areas of social affairs, tourism and civil defence”

In May this year, the farm set the tone for a Galp Foundation initiative designed to promote mobility, innovation and local development, in addition to social inclusion. Within the scope of the Vilas em Movimento (Towns undergoing Transition) project, the Mobility Centre in Martim Longo was redeveloped and equipped with rooms for physical exercise, health/physical rehabilitation and social well-being, in addition to the implementation of a system of 14 shared electric bicycles and four charging stations for use by residents and visitors to the town of Alcoutim.

The Minister for the Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro, also highlights the importance of this Algarve-based photovoltaic farm for the country, as another major contribution towards placing Portugal at the forefront of energy transition

In the words of the Minister for the Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro, “this is an important project for the country in line with the Government's priorities with respect to energy transition, it places a focus on the sovereignty, independence and autonomy of our country, supplies electricity at competitive prices and, above all, it prevents greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. The decarbonisation strategy provides countless investment opportunities”.

A project with a future

Georgios Papadimitriou took advantage of the official unveiling of the Alcoutim solar farm to praise this partnership with the town of Alcoutim. “We are here to stay, to create value for this community, we are your partners and, more than that, your neighbours. Our work here isn´t finished, in fact, it´s just beginning”. The Galp executive announced more ideas and projects, more specifically a 12-megawatt extension and the installation of the first Galp battery [plant], concluding that Portugal boasts unique conditions to become one of the most competitive countries in the production of green electrons.