After mini-hydro and wind, photovoltaic solar energy could become the third wave of the renewable energy revolution in Portugal. By 2030, the power output promises to grow up to 6.6 GW using this technology. 

Portugal has been one of the most enthusiastic countries regarding renewable energies. In 2016, 28,1% of the energy produced was by renewable sources, compared to 19.2% in 2004. This is the eighth highest percentage among European countries and the fifth highest in the Eurozone. Portugal’s target for 2020 is set at 31%. Portugal has a strong solar energy potential, boosting an annual average of 2,200 to 3,000 hours of sun in the mainland, making it the European country with the highest average of hours of sun exposure. Today, the solar power output in Portugal is of 1.006 GWh. The Amareleja solar plant with its 46MW and annual production of 93 GW is the largest in Portugal. 

In 2017, renewable sources represented 41% of the electricity generated in Portugal. Still, more than 30% of the renewable quota was achieved by the electricity generated by large-scale hydro power plants. Solar energy remains very far from what it could potentially be. The Portuguese Government has, early in 2017, suspended the licensing of any new feed-in tariff photovoltaic plants. The political motive was not increasing the electricity invoice paid by consumers, but the argument passed to the market players was that the market already offered adequate conditions for the deployment of new projects without a feed-in tariff due to the continuing solar panels’ cost reduction. 

The lack of stability on promoters’ remuneration led to the tightening of the financing conditions and to several licensed projects never being built or operated. The lack of grid capacity has been another challenge to the growth of the Portuguese photovoltaics. 

Aiming at solving these challenges, in 2019 the Portuguese government made several modifications on the licensing photovoltaics power plants and changed significantly the solar production ecosystem.

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