On Apr. 20, 2017 the ANES president declared that by 2018 the first of eight solar parks to be installed in Puebla will be ready. In Sep. 2016 the president had considered six parks to be built in Puebla’s for 2017, none of which have a date to be ready.
Puebla. Source: Flickr
Although Mexico has a privileged location for any kind of renewable energy, it is important to note that intra-country, the intensity of renewable resources varies widely depending on the region and kind of renewable. In the case of solar, the north and south-west regions are more relevant than central Mexico. Puebla receives on average 5.4 kWh per m2 of solar radiation, which is slightly above the national average of 5.2, pointed out the ANES president, while in northern states like Sonora and Chihuahua levels of 6.7 and 6.5 can be found, respectively.
Daily average solar radiation. Source: Ptolomeo
It seems like all eyes are on the northern area of the country due to its high potential for solar energy. The local advantage is particularly noticeable in Coahuila that will have the biggest solar park of Latin America. The construction of this plant started on Apr. 19, 2017, by Enel Green Power Mexico, and once it is finished the solar park is expected to be ready by mid-2018, with a total installed capacity of 754 MW and a total investment of US$650 million. Other solar projects of Enel will be built in locations with high solar radiation such as Guanajuato and Tamaulipas. More projects are in the pipeline for the northern region with companies starting paperwork for projects in Sonora and Chihuahua.
Although Puebla’s location is not as privileged for solar installations as the one from states in the north, it does have an important industrial force located nearby. With high energy consuming industries producing vehicles, chemicals and textiles, as well as government regulations stating sanctions for consumers that do not have a minimum share of clean energy in their energy mix (see previous post on CELs for more information), it is no surprise that companies are looking for ways to get involved in these kinds of projects. Surprising companies doing the projects are taking much more conservative attitudes toward their projects compared to those located in the north.
Although ANES’ president proudly claimed the amount of projects planned, he was reluctant to give any information regarding capacity to be installed, investment amount or location, classified as non-disclosable information by shareholders. Reluctance to give further comments may be related to problems arising in the state concerning the final recipients of the energy, or problems with the communities where the projects will be located. This is a problem with which renewable energies have grappled constantly, the most famous case being in Istmo de Tehuantepec, where the wind project had to be cancelled. Hopefully, this is not the case, and the lack of information only respects competitiveness concerns from the project providers.
Solar energy is indeed one of the most important potential renewable energy resources in Mexico. Thanks to the Energy Reform, more and more projects are starting to see light. It came as no surprise that major solar installations would be taking place in the northern region, where companies already had envisioned investments. The surprise is is how the sun is starting to shine on southern areas.
For further information regarding renewable energies potential in Mexico, the reader can find it in: Inventario Nacional de Energías Renovables