A New Era for European Solar as WElink Energy’s Ourika Plant is officially opened

2nd August 2018

PORTUGAL: The inauguration of WElink Energy’s Central Solar Fotovoltaica Ourika was held on Thursday 26th July 2018. The plant is the largest in Europe to be connected and operating without public subsidies.

The ceremony was hosted by Mr Marcelo Guerreiro, Presidente da Camara da Municipal de Ourique, and attended by Mr Dominique Ristori, Director General of Energy for European Commission; Mr Manuel Caldeira Cabral, Minister of Economy of Portugal; Mr Jorge Seguro Sanches, Secretary of State for Energy of Portugal, and other distinguished guests.

Speaking to Voz da Planicie, Mayor Marcelo Guerreiro stressed that it is a great moment for Ourique.

The plant is a pioneering project at European level and will not only be the first large power plant that has no guaranteed tariff supported by taxpayers, but the first connected directly to the National Electricity Network National Transmission Network according to the new regulation for linking generators to European Union networks”.

Developed by WElink Energy and its longstanding strategic partner China Triumph International Engineering Company {CTIEC} for an investment of approx 40 million euros, the 46 MW plant covers 100 hectares and comprises 142,000 photovoltaic panels. It will generate enough energy to power 23,000 homes.

Barry O’Neill, CEO WElink Group commented:

The opening of the Ourika plant sends a clear message that PV Solar is now a mature technology pushing into the post-subsidy era.  We were attracted to invest in Portugal by the leadership demonstrated by the Portuguese Government in delivering its ambitious low-carbon targets, and its contribution to the European Commission agenda. Together with our partner, CTIEC, we are extremely pleased to have contributed to Portugal’s renewable energy strategy by developing this ground breaking project.

The significance of the Ourika project is clearly demonstrated by the attendance at the inauguration of such distinguished guests. On behalf of WElink Energy and CTIEC I would like to thank them for their support in commemorating this event”.

Speaking at the Inauguration John Murphy, CEO WElink Energy, said:

WElink Energy is committed to leading the new era for PV Solar in the European market and contributing to a sustainable and greener future. We are grateful to our partner, CTIEC, and the leadership and vision of President Peng of CNBM for enabling this project. At the same time our sincere thanks goes to our business partners who have worked closely with us on this project, EcoSolar who supported the construction of the plant, and Holaluz who are acting as market agent; and the excellent support from REN and DGEG, whose technical guidance and support was invaluable. We thank them for their partnership collaboration”.

Looking to the future he further commented: “Whilst Ourika will always be the first subsidy free solar project developed in the Iberian Peninsula, our focus now switches to our next project Solara4, the 221 MW project being developed in Alcoutim. We are targeting completion of this project in Q3 2019. Beyond this we are committed to achieving our 1GW target for development in Iberia by 2020”.

Manuel Caldeira Cabral, Portuguese Minister for the Economy, added further comment on Qurika whilst attending the ceremony:

“This shows that Portugal today is a country that is competitive in terms of renewable energies without needing subsidies, which is due to the optimum conditions that the country has for solar production but also to the technological evolution that has taken place. What we think is that in the coming years with what is already licensed until 2021, it will be possible to more than triple the production capacity in solar.

This strategy we follow from a regulatory framework without subsidies will eventually contribute to the fall in the price of energy in Portugal and what we really want is to continue with a consistent strategy of increasing the space of renewable energy in production.”

WElink and its strategic partners’ pioneering success in delivering this project, which has not received any subsidies or public investment and is compliant with the new European Network Codes for energy transition, is a major advance for renewable assets in Europe towards the progressive replacing of conventional generating plants in the coming years.

Pictured during the official unveiling of the commemorative plaque to mark the Plant’s opening are, left to Right: Mr Jorge Seguro Sanches, Secretary of State for Energy of Portugal; Mr Dominique Ristori, Director General of Energy for European Commission; Mr Manuel Caldeira Cabral, Minister of Economy of Portugal; Mr Marcelo Guerreiro, Presidente da Camara da Municipal de Ourique; and Barry O’Neill, CEO WElink Group.


  • CTIEC: China Triumph International Engineering Co.,Ltd. – is a national comprehensive, Class-A scientific research and design unit, an internationalized engineering group company, and a key national-level hi-tech enterprise. It is the engineering technical platform of China National Building Material Co., Ltd.
  • Ecosolar: part of Solaer Group – a leading company operating in the field of renewable energies since 2004. The group specializes in developing, promoting and producing engineering for turnkey projects with a clear commitment on designing and building solar photovoltaic facilities. Furthermore, the group’s business activity includes a full set of services for the facility according with the most demanding international standards. Nowadays, Solaer operate worldwide, with more than 450 MW of power installed and over 130 photovoltaic systems connected. For additional information, please visit net
  • Holaluz: is an energy company created in Barcelona in 2010. It sells 100% of electricity is sources for its customers from renewables: solar, hydraulic, wind, biomass and biogas. It also supports its customers on the journey to a new sustainable model where they will manage and own their green energy, becoming prosumers instead of consumers. Within this strategy, Holaluz has become the first European electric company to receive the B Corp certification, a seal that encompasses more than 2,400 companies from 50 countries and whose objective is to give visibility to companies that, beyond generating economic profits, innovate to maximize their positive impact on employees, the communities where they serve and the environment.