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Insight

Nuevo Leon Sees the Dawn of Photovoltaic Technology

Wed, 02/24/2016 - 12:08

Wind power developers have comfortably nestled themselves in Mexico’s northern states and have enjoyed competitive business environments. Now it would appear it is solar’s turn. Covering nearly half of the country’s total surface, the six northern border states possess an arid desert climate and high levels of solar irradiation. The figures are bound to attract solar players in droves as there is an average daily solar irradiation level of 5.853kWh/m2. Baja California takes first place with an average of 6.4kWh/m2 and the state of Chihuahua is noted for being an area with one of the highest solar irradiation levels worldwide. Rafael López de Cárdenas, Chief Operating Officer at Main Energy Projects set out to capitalize on the opportunities in the region.

“Our company is based in Monterrey, so we are focusing on this area. Fortunately it is an industrial city and there are many players that can benefit from the solutions we offer,” he explains. One of the advantages López de Cardenas has spotted is that the high irradiation levels make it possible to maximize the efficiency of the photovoltaic cells. Despite the outstanding conditions, competition remains strong between technologies, “We face strong competition in the north, with wind companies based in the same geographical locations as us. As a result, it is crucial to understand the energy market and the needs of every off-taker.” In order to maintain a competitive advantage, López de Cárdenas stresses the importance of making a valuable offer by understanding the energy needs of every industry and the precedent for powering operations. Competition not only exists between energy sources, but also between states, as the central region is beginning to garner more attention because of the growing activity there. Nevertheless, in López de Cárdenas’ eyes the most attractive markets continue to be located in the north in states like Coahuila, Chihuahua, and Sonora.

One of the characteristics of the northern states is the openness to creating a landscape for newcomers, and Main Energy Projects must ensure its position in this growing and shifting market. Joint ventures and associations with foreign players have proven to be the ideal solution for this. “The joint venture we created in 2013 provided us with valuable information about some of the main markets, such as Spain and Germany.” In addition, the company gained expertise and experience in the decision making process, which allows it to work more efficiently in Mexico. “This international knowledge gives us an advantage over other competitors with only local experience. Our insights into the industry and market will help us to capitalize on existing opportunities.” Ultimately, these collaborations will allow the company to maintain a continuous workflow in a solar market that has yet to prove its value.