A “silent wave” is washing over the Mexican energy landscape as high electricity tariffs, rising power demand and a sun-drenched geography make distributed generation an attractive and profitable alternative, says Juan Pablo Robert, Chief Marketing Officer at Enlight.
“People often do not realize how many solar panel installments are in their city; they usually think they are the first to install one. The truth is there are more developments that we think,” says Robert. “If you visit cities in the Nordic region, houses have gabled roofs because this design is more resistant to cold weather. Within this architecture, solar panels are visible. In Mexico, our roofs are flat and solar installments cannot be seen,” he adds. Since it started operations in 2008, Enlight has generated 22,400MWh of clean sun-powered energy.
According to CRE’s latest report on distributed generation, Mexico generated 692.86MW through this scheme in 2018. This capacity translates to 94,893 contracts with CFE, mainly powered by solar, wind and biofuels. The solar segment is the growth leader, with 99.4 percent of the total share. In 2018, 18,000 solar rooftops where installed.
The states of Jalisco, Nuevo Leon, Mexico City and the State of Mexico are the country’s leaders in solar distributed generation. If Enlight were a state, it would have the fifth-highest installed capacity in the country. To support its growth, the company has opened commercial offices in six states and has projects in more than 20 cities.
“Every solar installation is different and unique. Even If there are two identical houses in a residential development, conditions such as the water tank position and number of inhabitants demand a personalized system. This requires having a team in any potential market,” Robert says. Enlight’s expansion strategy is ambitious: the company just opened another office in Guadalajara and soon will start operations in other countries like Chile.
Among the company’s 2018 highlights: its acquisition of the first distributed generation CEL in partnership with Grupo Bimbo. This year, Enlight wants to reinforce its offer for industrial users. Given the electricity tariff scheme that was introduced last year, this segment suffered a 100 percent rate increase. “The industrial sector is showing a great deal of interest in distributed generation. This will be our priority in 2019 and the company’s goal is to install 40MW for this market,”says Robert.
Enlight’s motto is Power to the People. The company wants users to know that they are in control of their electricity and can even gain a profit from it by using an app the company developed that can monitor every solar installation and see how much energy is exchanged between the consumer and CFE. As collective distributed generation takes hold, these consumers could become prosumers and create a network within their neighbors. This, in combination with energy storage systems, will result in an efficient, clean and continuous supply, Robert says.