Esparity Solar obtains the UNEF Seal of Excellence in Sustainability for its Novelda and Monóvar solar farms

15/03/2023 –
VALÈNCIA. The Esparity Solar Salinetas and Salinetas II projects, each with an installed capacity of 50 MWp, have been awarded the Seal of Excellence in Sustainability by the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF), which recognises ground-mounted solar power plants built with the highest criteria for social and environmental integration. Thus, located in the Alicante municipalities of Novelda and Monovar respectively, both solar parks have biodiversity protection and conservation measures and join the other three Esparity Solar projects that already have this certification (Cordovilla, Safarich and Serol).

Preservation of biodiversity

Thus, Salinetas and Salinetas II have hunting fences with a subway that allows the transit of local fauna and plant strips for an adequate landscape integration, considering as relevant references the natural topography of the area, the autochthonous vegetation and the visual organisation of the landscape. Furthermore, with the aim of preserving and increasing the biodiversity of the environment, both projects have favourable studies of birdlife with a complete annual cycle and additional measures for the protection and conservation of the fauna, such as the implementation of nesting boxes, shelters for rodents and reptiles, ponds and insect hotels, as well as the placement of five apiaries, which means a total of 250 hives producing one hundred percent organic honey.

Socio-economic and environmental benefits

According to the company, in its projects it seeks to promote, together with local livestock farmers, a symbiosis between the production of green energy and the activity in the rural environment. As a result, and due to livestock grazing, there will be no cleaning of the land, where the photovoltaic installation is located and its surroundings, using machinery or chemicals that are highly harmful to the soil. In addition, the Salinetas and Salinetas II projects “will bring multiple socio-economic and environmental benefits to Novelda, Monóvar and their adjacent municipalities, as once they are operational, the facilities will contribute to the reduction of 120,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and will produce green energy that will supply more than 58,000 Spanish homes”. On the other hand, according to the company, the construction and maintenance of both wind farms will generate around 400 direct and indirect jobs locally; these figures are estimates calculated based on ratios contrasted by the REE (Spanish Electricity Grid) and tools such as PVSyst based on tables and parameters defined by the IEA (International Energy Agency).

Creating utmost benefit for the inhabitants

For their preparation, the projects were subject to a Public Participation Plan in their respective municipalities, based on the LOTUP (Law on land use planning, urban planning and landscape), which aimed to learn first-hand about the concerns and needs of the inhabitants of the area and adapt the project to generate the greatest possible social benefit. Likewise, and as indicated in the regulations (Decree-Law 14/2020, of 7 August, of the Consell), the company undertakes to dismantle the photovoltaic plants at the end of their useful life, returning the land to its previous original situation, and therefore being a temporary occupation of land that is totally reversible.

Reducing impact on the landscape

On the other hand, the projects have a section of overhead line and a section underground, which is an advantage when it comes to reducing the level of landscape impact of the evacuation infrastructures, as they already have access and connection permits shared with other developers. In order to further reduce the impacts derived from the evacuation infrastructures of the projects, these are shared with the rest of the developers who have access and connection permits at the REE substation to which the energy generated by each of the renewable energy production facilities will be evacuated.

Likewise, the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge considers the location of the “Salinetas” and “Salinetas II” projects to be of very low environmental sensitivity, as it gives them an average index of practically 10, with this sensitivity being rated from 1 to 10, 1 being the highest value and 10 the lowest possible. This figure confirms that both projects have little environmental impact on the environment.

Published by Valencia Plaza. Photo: Pepe Olivares