News Article

Solar Roofs the Next Big Thing in Mexico

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 11:30

Speaker: Guillermo García Alcocer, President Commissioner of the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE)

Solar roofs and the onset of a growing market for distributed energy generation will become the next big thing in Mexico after the country publishes this week the last rules required to promote smaller scale solar PV in the country, said Guillermo García Alcocer, President Commissioner of the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE), during his presentation at Mexico Energy Forum 2017 at Mexico City’s Sheraton María Isabel on Wednesday.

“When we meet here again a year from now, we will be discussing solar roofs nonstop,” he said. The government will publish the last regulations needed for this sector to take off on Thursday, García Alcocer added.

The head of the energy watchdog commented about the potential for this sector not only to promote cleaner energy adoption but also to create employment, using the example of the US, where solar has been the source of one in every 50 new jobs created. “There are more jobs in the solar roof installation business in California than in all of that state’s hydrocarbons business.”

García Alcocer foresees that the new rules could provide a big push to the sector, taking the number of solar roof contracts in the country from about 21,000 now to about 286,000 in the next few years. Growth, he said “will be dramatic.” The new rules will allow for shorter times for approval by authorities, and the government is also looking into the possibility of offering government credits both to households and companies to help with the adoption of these systems, he added.

This new development, he said, follows on Mexico’s successful first two energy generation tenders in 2016, where solar technologies offered some of the world’s most competitive prices without requiring subsidies, showing the technology’s maturity. García Alcocer added that current developments in the field of energy storage and batteries, a much needed requirement to reduce the uncertainty related to solar power’s intermittency, are “on the right track.”

Regarding Mexico’s energy security in the middle of the political changes brought about by the new US government, García Alcocer eased worries about a possible cut of natural gas supplies from north of the border, vital for Mexico’s growing manufacturing sector, as he explained that it would be very difficult for US hydrocarbons companies to stop producing gas without bringing their own industry to a halt.

“The reality is that if someone wants to stop producing natural gas in the US they have to stop producing oil, or to start venting gas but no civilized country wants to live under a cloud of burnt gas,” he said. For the US, he added, natural gas exports are a strategic part of the industry.