A new 30 MW solar photovoltaic power plant is currently being constructed in Mexico — in La Paz, Baja California Sur. Once completed, the plant will be Latin America’s largest photovoltaic solar power plant, providing enough electricity to power an estimated 160,000 households.
The plant is being built by Martifer Solar, a subsidiary of Martifer SGPS. The company is responsible for all of the engineering and construction, and will also provide operation and maintenance services after the plant is completed. The plant is being funded by the local development bank Nafin, with further assistance from International Finance Corporation and Corporación Aura Solar.
The solar power plant, situated on a large 100-hectare site, will feature about 132,000 modules installed on single-axis trackers once completed — generating about 82 GWh/year and offsetting around 60,000 tons of CO2 emissions. It is currently scheduled to be completed by August 2013.
The project will be the first utility-scale solar project under a Power Purchase Agreement contract (20 years long) between a private company and Comisión Federal de Electricidad, Mexico’s federal power company, and also represents a big increase in total solar capacity for the country.
“Martifer Solar’s experience and worldwide track-record were decisive during the analysis of the different proposals made by the main companies in the sector. Due to its dimension, this project in Mexico will open the way for the development of the photovoltaic sector in the country, where, to date, were installed 13 MW of PV projects”, says Hector Olea, CEO of Gauss Energía, a Mexican company specialized in project development in the energy sector, in the press release.
Mexico has enormous potential with regards to solar energy — 70% of the country has an insolation of greater than 4.5 kWh/m²/day. What that means is that by “using 15% efficient photovoltaics, a square 25 km (16 mi) on each side in the state of Chihuahua or the Sonoran Desert (0.01% of Mexico) could supply all of Mexico’s electricity.” It’s currently predicted that the country will experience a solar power boom in the coming years, likely allowing it to reach its goal of receiving 35% of its energy from renewable sources by 2026.