Central de Abasto: An Emblematic Solar Project
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Central de Abasto: An Emblematic Solar Project

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Perla Velasco By Perla Velasco | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Tue, 02/28/2023 - 12:32

The solar project at the Central de Abasto, Mexico City’s massive Central Market, was designed as the most emblematic renewable energy program in Mexico City. The 18MW solar plant is fundamental to the climate action program led by Mexico City’s Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum.

Last year, Mexico City’s government announced that it began the works for the construction of the Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Plant at the Mexico City Central Market in March 2022. The allocated resources for this project come from the Energy Transition Fund and Sustainable Exploitation of Energy (FOTEASE) of the country’s Ministry of Energy (SENER).

According to Fadlala Akabani, Minister of Economic Development, Mexico City’s Ministry of Economic Development (SEDECO), this project is part of the capital city’s government commitment to the clean energy transition. Moreover, the project is part of the Solar City concept, whose goal is to provide Mexico City with the possibility of growing as a power producer by implementing clean and renewable sources of energy.

Akabani reported that the cost of the project amounted to MX$600 million (US$27.25 million), including making the market’s roofs waterproof, which was necessary for the installation of the solar system. He further explained that panels were designed individually due to the differences between each rooftop and can withstand extreme climate conditions.

According to the Ministry of Economic Development (SEDECO), the project overseen by CFE was implemented in two stages. The first consists of two Distributed Generation (DG) solar systems on the roof of storage units and is set to start operating in 1H23. The second phase corresponds to the 18MW PV project that will produce 25GWh of clean energy for the market. Its installation began in May 2022 to be completed by the end of 2023.

This emblematic project is set to save up to 12,404 tons of CO27/y with the deployment of 36,000 PV modules. According to Akabani, the Central de Abastos contributes 1% of the national GDP, and this project can contribute MX$73.5 million (US$4 million) in annual energy savings for the market. During the project’s development, SEDECO certified 1,000 specialized technicians to install PV panels on homes and small businesses. “SEDECO dedicated itself to closing the circle of buying and selling solar panels because there were no specialized technicians who could enter homes to install them and, above all, we found there were insufficient reliable technicians. Therefore, we certified close to 1,000 people to install these products in homes and businesses. This way, we encourage the consumption of solar power in homes,” said Akabani.

Mexico City’s climate change action program drives sustainable mobility, improves air quality, provides value for the environment and is set to generate no waste at all. Solar City is based on four benchmarks, including enhancing electricity generation from DG projects, solar energy for SMEs, training technicians and workers as well as boosting the adoption and development of electromobility technologies.

Akabani also highlighted the importance of promoting Mexican-made products for the value chains close to the city’s green projects. “We continue working on the installation of solar panels on top of public buildings and have collaborated with many companies for the installation of PB panels. We boosted close to 100 companies in the field of electromobility. We also recently inaugurated a Metrobus line running a fully electric fleet,” he added.

Akabani also discussed the opportunities that nearshoring represents for the country and underlined the government's commitment to take advantage of this development. He recognized the need to further develop an industry for lithium batteries and energy storage, highlighting the government’s decision to boost this industry through the new state company, LitioMx.

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