Neoen says that Central Solar do Foral respects «some of the population's suggestions»

Neoen responds to the Larga Vista Residents Association

Neoen, an independent producer of renewable energy, stated this Friday, January 19th, that the Foral Solar Plant respects «some of the population's suggestions» and that it will allow the production of more than 94 thousand MWh of green energy per year . 

The statements from the company responsible for this solar plant come after the position taken by the Larga Vista Residents Association, Foral, in Silves, which was «deeply» concerned «with the project's ecological footprint and the lack of community involvement».

Although the Algarve Regional Development Coordination Committee (CCDR) conditionally approved the project, residents were concerned about the landscape and vegetation and “proximity to housing”.

In a response sent to the media, Neoen clarifies that the process was subject to public consultation during the month of June 2018 and that the Larga Vista residents' association participated, with the CCDR integrating measures to include some of the population's suggestions, These measures, according to the company, “will be respected”.

According to Neoen, more recently, on July 26, a meeting was held at the Algoz parish council between Neoen and representatives of the association.

After this meeting, Neoen says that the residents' association was invited by the Department of Urban Planning of the City of Silves to participate in project clarification sessions with Neoen (on September 15th and October 13th, 2023), «but not attended none”.

«In compliance with the legislative and regulatory framework, the licensing of Central Solar do Foral was preceded by an environmental impact assessment procedure coordinated by CCDR-Algarve. This procedure resulted in the issuance of a Conditional Declaration of Environmental Incidences. The Legal Regime of the National Ecological Reserve (Decree-Law no. 124/2019, of August 28 in its current wording) admits as compatible the use of the area for production and distribution of electricity from renewable sources, as described in Declaration of Environmental Incidences», explains Neoen.

According to the independent renewable energy producer, «the project will be implemented on a plot of land with a total area of ​​96 hectares (ha) and an intervention area of ​​76 ha, where green corridors around 20 meters wide will be integrated, to connect the biodiversity and better landscape environment»-

«In the current layout of the project, it is planned to create an ecological corridor in the southern sector of the land, promoted by a tree and shrub barrier made up of native species, which will guarantee landscape integration with a natural visual barrier and a minimum distance between the first panels solar panels and housing above 60 meters, going far beyond the requirements imposed in the Declaration of Environmental Incidences", he continues, contradicting the Residents' Association which said that "this massive project is positioned alarmingly close to residential areas, just 20 meters in some locations, and is on top of critical groundwater resources».

The energy producer also justifies that «the reduced size of the metal profiles of the solar panel support structures, which will have a distance between rows of 6,5 m, will allow the soil to be free for vegetation that will include sowing with a biodiverse mixture, maintaining the objectives of water infiltration into the soil and allowing the integration of the production of green, renewable and endogenous energy, with the possible practice of grazing and beekeeping, as already happens in other Neoen solar parks».

«Rapid technological evolution will allow the Foral Solar Plant project to consist of around 75 solar panels (a number 000% lower than expected) which will allow the production of more than 25 MWh of green energy per year (a value 94% higher than expected), which will be equivalent to the annual consumption of 000 homes, avoiding the emission of 30 tons of CO28 compared to the production of energy from fossil fuels", concludes the company.