Mexico receives an average of 5.6 hours of sunshine in September and 8.5 hours in March and in total, there are approximately 2,598 sunshine hours in a year. Clearly, Mexico is a very sunny place. It’s too bad that sunshine rays are often used for tanning and heating but rarely used to generate energy.
According to the Milenio newspaper, Mexico receives an average solar radiation of 5 kilowatt hours per square meter (5 KWH/m2) per day, enough for houses to produce 200 times the energy that they consume (based on the average household consumption). This shows that there is a huge potential for the development of solar energy and in fact, Mexico is among the top five countries with the greatest solar energy potential. However, in this country, this is not exploited properly.
In 2011, 28 GW worth of solar power structures were installed in the world. Germany, the leading nation in this sector, was responsible for installing 7,000 MW throughout the course of one year. Mexico on the other hand, has installed a rough total of 25 MW of solar power capacity and plans to add 19 MW in the coming years (time frame still unknown).
At the moment, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) is expecting its first solar energy project in the country to begin operations. The 1 MW Santa Rosalía photovoltaic solar power project was made possible by an initial investment of approximately US$ 6 million. The solar power plant is located in the northern region of Baja California and was constructed by Microm, a unit of Grupo Condumex.
For now, Mexico is expecting the arrival of the event Solar Power Mexico organized by Green Power Conferences in mid-May with special speeches by Mario Molina, the Nobel Prize winner for chemistry, and Jordy Herrera, the Minister of Energy. This conference and exhibition is meant to bring together key international and national players in the industry, especially since it is estimated that solar energy, both from thermal panels and from photovoltaic cells, will account for up to 5% of Mexico’s energy supply by 2030.
As of February 2012, a policy put forward by Marcelo Ebrard, the mayor of Mexico City, entitled ‘Norma de Aprovechamiento de Energía Solar’, was responsible for the elimination of more than 1.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. This norm pushed for the installation of 9,000 m2 of photovoltaic cells throughout the city which generate energy for the commercial sector. In addition, this policy calls for businesses that require hot water for pools, restroom facilities, kitchens, etc. to install a system based on solar power that covers at least 30% of their energy consumption.
Mexico is bathed in sunlight from coast to coast and it is clear that the development of a functioning solar power sector would be beneficial for both the country’s economy and its future plan to become part of the global transition toward renewable energy. So… let’s soak up the sun.