Eight Honduran solar power projects were completed before an important August 1 deadline, meaning they will be rewarded with an extra 3 cents per kWh bonus for their punctuality. The projects will receive $0.18/kWh from the Honduran feed-in tariff, instead of $0.15/kWh. The $0.18/kWh could last the duration of the feed-in tariff contract, which is 15 years.
Feed-in tariffs have been instrumental in many nations for accelerating the growth of solar power installations. In Honduras, this effect has also been observed. In fact, in the second quarter of 2015, about 307 MW of solar PV were installed.
According to a BNEF document titled, “H1 2015 MEXICO & CENTRAL AMERICA MARKET OUTLOOK,” the feed-in tariff is at least attractive. “In Central America, auctions in Guatemala and Panama and a feed-in tariff in Honduras are causing development to heat up in the region. In Guatemala and Panama, average prices are more competitive than in previous auctions, but in Honduras, the feed-in tariff offers a gaudy $180/MWh to solar projects.”
Honduras might actually be a Latin American leader in solar power installations, if it continues to invest in solar power at the same rate.
Anyone who follows renewable energy knows that Costa Rica has been a leader in this field in the region, and one could argue for the whole world.
However, Honduras seems to be attracting interest from solar power developers all over the world. Companies from Norway, the US, and China have expressed interest or have initiated projects there. Yingli was reported in June to have agreed to deliver about 40 MW of solar modules for projects in Honduras.
Honduras has a population of 6 million, with almost two-thirds living in rural areas. There may be as many as 7,000 communities living off the grid. Building a successful solar project in areas where people don’t have consistent access to reliable sources of energy can help lift them out of poverty. For one thing, without electricity, there is no connection to the Internet.