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It's Always Sunny in Iberia

Rory Chandler Energy & Green Tech Finance, Renewable Energy, permanent-hires...

There is no doubt Spain is the hottest renewables market in Europe right now. According to Solar Asset Management Europe, the country added three times the amount of solar PV in 2019 than in the entire last decade. In the first seven months of 2020 alone, renewables achieved a 44.7% share of the national electricity mix.

In Q2 2020, Spain had the highest proportion of projects with a PPA agreement in place (26%). This was the highest in Europe, and for comparison the UK was in second place (14%).

It’s easy to understand the appeal – favourable legislation, yearlong sunshine and windy coastlines make it an ideal hunting ground for developers, banks and funds alike looking for reliable income-generating assets. Subsidy schemes, low cost and abundance of land and a stable regulatory framework all contribute to making Spain an attractive market for investment.

We have witnessed the boom first-hand from a recruitment perspective. Many of our UK & European clients have established local offices in Madrid to develop or acquire projects across Spain and Portugal.

While the UK market slowed down in March with many companies implementing hiring freezes to take stock about strategy, internal resources and headcount, the Spanish sector has continued to thrive and has become the busiest market for the Renewable Generation team here at Green Recruitment Company.

The most desired candidates in the current landscape are Senior Greenfield Developers with a track record originating and delivering projects in Spain. Given the competition from so many companies entering the market, the top talent are spoilt for choice when looking for a new opportunity. These professionals are well sought after if they have delivered utility scale wind and solar projects and led the entire land acquisition, permitting and grid connection procedures in Spain.

Aside from full project development, we are also seeing acquisitions of newly constructed or RTB stage projects. This has led to many investors seeking strong M&A professionals who can spot an opportunity to grow portfolios with operational or in construction assets, without the headache of the various authorisations required in delivering a greenfield project.

However, all the competition means smaller players are finding it hard to compete and are subsequently outbid for grid connections by the well-backed funds, multinational developers, IPPs or large utilities who are dominating the market.

It is definitely a crowded market, and the companies who are yet to enter the Spanish market are probably too late. Our clients strategy has already started to shift with Eastern Europe and Scandinavia being attractive propositions for development and investment.

It comes as no surprise that renewable energy was the only European energy source that grew throughout the pandemic. We expect this growth to continue as the ex-O&G players shift entirely to clean energy, legislation continues to be favourable, construction costs continue to fall and corporates continue to push wide ranging ESG agendas.

It seems the current crisis has aided the widespread adoption of renewable energy in Europe and it is a trend that shows no sign of slowing down. 

If you are an experienced greenfield development professional looking for a new challenge, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our latest European roles within investment, asset management, wider finance and development are listed on our website – rory@greenrecruitmentcompany.com