Shining a light on Mexico's solar potential

An Expert's View about Environmental Technologies in Mexico

Posted on: 31 Mar 2012

The Mexican market for solar energy is valued at just US$150 million, a minor figure compared to its potential, and despite solar technologies having grown fast over the past few years.

Some experts estimate that developing just 0.06% of Northern Mexico's land in Chihuahua or the Sonoran Desert - about 25 sqkm - could provide the entire country with electricity. Thus far, Mexico's solar industry has focused on small, off-grid photovoltaic (PV) installations supplying the rural countryside.

Hence, only some US$130 million of total solar value currently accounts for solar heaters and just US$20 million for the photovoltaic cells used to generate electricity.

Thanks to the development of new photovoltaic systems and building of utility-scale grids, it's expected that there'll be a huge take up in Mexico's solar power sector.

Last October, construction began on two concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) power plants in Mexico that are estimated to be the largest in Latin America. One of those plants is expected to supply about 25% greater solar capacity to the country.

US-based Skyline Solar is developing one plant while the other - built by Siliken of Spain - is expected to be one of the largest solar parks in the world. Both are in the State of Durango.

Solar water heaters could grow a conservative 15% according to estimates from the President of the National Association of Solar Energy (ANES). Vicente Estrada expected the participation of authorities with programmes such as "green mortgaging" and has proposed offering potential users a government grant to finance the installation of solar panels, to be paid off in five years.

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Posted: 31 March 2012

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