Angélica Quiñones
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Where Industry Meets Academia

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 12:38

Q: What is the main contribution that ANES offers to the solar energy market in Mexico?
A: The National Association of Solar Energy (ANES) has participated for more than 40 years in the Mexican energy arena. It brings together the interests of more than 800 members from academia and industry. I believe having this academic and institutional support is one of our biggest strengths. Some of our strategic allies are the Renewable Energy Institute (IER-UNAM), the Mexican Center of Solar Innovation (CeMIE-Sol) and the German-Mexican Energy Partnership. ANES’ work is focused on the democratization of energy. This means that not only big consumers benefit from its generation but small users in remote areas as well. Another important value that ANES brings to the table is the technical certainty and normalization of the industry’s guidelines. For instance, I represent the Solar Committee of the Mexican Society of Normalization and Certification (NORMEX). ANES has worked for several years on regulatory topics. We acknowledge that the market would not evolve without having strong ground rules.
Q: What will be the priority topic on ANES’ agenda during the new administration’s term?
A: Solar heat for industrial processes is a very important topic for the association. This was addressed by the previous administration and resulted in the creation of two programs. The first is the Solar Heat Initiative, an interinstitutional platform in collaboration with CONUEE and GIZ. The program aims to unite parties interested in generating solar heat temperatures between 150-400°C for its application in various sectors.
The second program is Solar Payback, an initiative developed with CAMEXA where its main focus relies on solar heat generation for industrial processes. With both programs, we conducted market research and now we have strong facts and data that justify heat demand in the country. In Mexico, 70 percent of the energy used in industrial processes comes from heat and the remainder comes from electricity. The study also determined the niche industry segments where this technology could be applied. During this administration, one of ANES’ main goals is to improve our communication strategy to empower the final user. Successful case studies are what is missing for the industry to take over thermo-solar technology. At the same time, this generates major consciousness. With supporting data, we can motivate the construction of a better policy strategy for the industry.
Q: What is missing from a regulatory standpoint to motivate the solar industry’s growth?
A: The financial sector needs to be prepared to invest in new renewable technologies. If a company goes to the bank asking for a loan to install solar panels, the interest rate would be around 15 percent. This is the same interest rate that banks ask when lending money to purchase a car. At the end of the day, these are completely different assets as risk is managed separately. A car’s value depreciates on a yearly basis and PV technology offers fiscal incentives and represents a self-supply source of energy. That is why these financial products cannot be evaluated with the same scheme. Training the financial sector goes hand in hand with public policy. ANES, in partnership with FAMERAC, AMIF and CeMIE-Sol, recently integrated the Renewable Energy Front. This initiative seeks to deliver strategies to demonstrate the areas of opportunity that will derive from the energy transition. We are more than open to share our ideas with the next administration and work together to achieve the same objective.
Q: What are the main objectives that the association wants to achieve by the end of 2019?
A: There are various flagship projects in the PV segment but this needs to be replicated in the thermo-solar arena. For instance, the Solar Payback program will install a pilot plant in 2019. This facility will serve as a prototype where potential users can observe its function. In the long term, I foresee ANES as the association that drives innovation in the solar segment.