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31 Jul 2013 02:07:24

Mexico making waves in PV in Latin America

The 30MW Martifer Solar Aura PV plant will be completed in August, making Mexico a potential rival to Chile's dominance of the PV market in Latin America.

The Aura plant, being developed by Martifer solar and Gauss Energía, will be providing power to Mexico’s national utility, the Comisión Federal de electricidad, and will use Suntech modules. It is one of several large scale plants underway in Mexico, including a 20MW plant for Ford.

Mexico is seen as an exciting market for PV due to the high rates of DNI/GHI and opportunities for off-grid, distributed PV and utility-scale. However, with only one national utility, much relies on their transmission capacity and policy environment to ensure PV flourishes.

With hundreds of companies moving into the continent, choosing which countries to actively focus on is a strategic business decision of critical importance as failure build a viable business after intensive investment can lose companies time and resources essential for being an early mover in such a competitive market. Whilst the Aura plant may become the largest PV plant in Latin America, it is unlikely to hold this title for long. The IFC has recently announced funding for Selray Energía to expand their plant to over 30MW, and construction is due to begin soon on this.

It is not clear whether Chile or Mexico will provide the longer-term market for PV. With such a clear demand continuing to grow amongst the mining community, and solutions for grid capacity unlikely to be resolved soon, Chile's demand for cheaper electricity will keep on growing.

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