'Come and see' says Spanish PM after Musk tells country to build solar park

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Elon Musk talks at the Automotive World News Congress at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, January 13, 2015. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

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MADRID, April 5 (Reuters) - Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez defended his government's energy policy and challenged Elon Musk to put his money where his mouth is on Tuesday after the world's richest man said Spain should build a massive solar power plant.

"Spain should build a massive solar array. Could power all of Europe," Tesla (TSLA.O) founder Musk, who has a net worth of some $219 billion according to Forbes, tweeted to his 80.5 million followers on Monday.

Sanchez responded in kind, touting his country's plans to transition toward a more efficient and sustainable energy system and inviting Musk to be a part of it.

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"Time is now. Let's get it right. Come and see. We welcome investors in Spain," he tweeted.

With its sunny plains, fast-flowing rivers and windy hillsides, Spain targets getting 67% of its electricity from renewables by 2026.

Data from national grid operator Red Electrica (REE.MC) showed renewables accounted for 45% of generation in March, with solar photovoltaic contributing around 6.4%.

As part of its COVID-19 economic recovery plan, Spain will allocate some 6.9 billion euros ($7.8 billion) to renewables, green hydrogen and energy storage by 2023 and aims to attract another 9.45 billion euros in private funding. read more

Former Science Minister Pedro Duque, an aeronautical engineer who was a European Space Agency astronaut before taking up his ministerial post, also replied to Musk's tweet, challenging him to make his idea a reality.

"We welcome investments in Spain to boost our already large production of renewables. All our legal framework is prepared for it. Know any investors?"

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Reporting by Nathan Allen; Additional reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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