Chinese Giant to Launch Operations in MexicoWed, 02/22/2017 - 17:41
Tsinghua Solar Systems (THS), a Chinese high-tech solar company, will open a new manufacturing facility in Mexico to support its entry strategy in the country, which also includes building three new solar parks, each of 200MW capacity.
“The company will finish building the solar panel manufacturing plant by the middle of 2017, so all the panels used in our projects will be manufactured in Mexico. We will use German top-quality manufacturing equipment in our facilities and we will also benefit from the expertise and experience of Tsinghua University,” says Sergio Beristain, Founding Partner of Beristain + Asociados and legal representative of THS in Mexico.
“Our partners are trying to create a new era in PV solar in Mexico with the best technology, quality and price. Right now, THS’ products are among the best panels in the market and they are manufactured in China. The company is now ready to increase its production by 10 percent,” he adds.
The main motivation behind THS’ new overseas operation is the area of opportunity the company spotted to develop a robust solar supply chain in Mexico, which is supported by the market growth expected from the solar sector in the coming years. According to the Ministry of Energy, solar capacity is expected to increase its capacity by a factor of 20 by the end of 2019, adding over 5,400MW of new solar developments. Distributed generation is also expected to boost solar capacity in the country, particularly now that the government released the new interconnection manual for generation facilities below 0.5MW capacity. Under this landscape, building a local facility seems like a good bet.
“The solar energy supply chain is not as well developed in Mexico as we wished. Most SMEs that sell solar panels and operate in the country distribute products from local and foreign manufacturers from China or the US, for instance, without a robust distribution chain. We have decided not to buy solar panels from foreign companies. We instead want to provide an added technological value to our product using over 200 patents from Tsinghua University and embracing the challenge of creating five more patents of our own,” says Beristain.
“Technological investment is necessary for the country’s development as patents create a technological advantage. The ideal scenario would be to develop these patents with Mexican universities – an idea supported by THS – following the model the company has used in China with Tsinghua University,” he says.
THS is busy in Mexico as it is also working on three largescale solar projects in parallel to its local manufacturing project. “The solar parks will be developed over the next five months; two will be located in the central part of Mexico and one in the west. We are still managing the required diligences to obtain the necessary permits and contracts to keep developing these projects but we are positive they will be solved in due time.”
The role of Beristain's firm in these projects is to facilitate all legal matters and promote the support and confidence between the Chinese partners and Mexican investors. He especially highlights the importance that social management aspects – an area with heightened relevance in the industry after the Mexican government established Social Impact Assessments (SIAs) as mandatory for energy projects – have for the Chinese firm
"We are careful of our projects’ social management aspects because our goal is to bring added value not only to the industry but to surrounding communities. We will be involved in several sustainable and clean energy projects, such as wind, solar and combined-cycle power plants, to boost the development of local communities. We strive to contribute to new employment and industry advances for communities in need because we believe social impact from energy projects is direct and immediate,“ he says.