Mexico’s 64 photovoltaic plants now reach an installed capacity of 5,151MW[, which represents 3 percent of the total electric power used in the country, the Mexican Solar Energy Association (ASOLMEX) has reported. Large-scale power plants provide 4,333MW of the energy mix while the rest comes from small distributed generation projects, mainly solar rooftops.
ASOLMEX President Héctor Olea highlighted the potential of solar projects across 85 percent of the national territory, with northern states once again standing out as the regions with the most potential.
Only three weeks ago, the association reported that the installed capacity of Mexico’s photovoltaic parks increased 62 percent in 2019 compared to the previous year and that the trend was expected to repeat in 2020. Today, ASOLMEX focused on the accumulated investments of more than US$8.55 billion (approx. MX$158 billion) in photovoltaic energy projects concentrated in 16 states. Chihuahua is leading the pack with 11 plants, followed by Sonora with 10 and Durango with eight.
Tuli Energía, located in Zacatecas and with an 150MW installed capacity, is the latest addition to the Mexico’s solar plant network. The plants with the greatest capacity are Villanueva Solar and Villanueva Tres, owned by Enel Green Power and located in Coahuila with an 828MW installed capacity.
ASOLMEX is also working to take advantage of the country’s big potential for rooftop solar energy production. It estimates that Mexico’s 29 largest cities have 10,000 square kilometers of available roofs, that could potentially produce 84,000MW.
CRE proposal reactions
The Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) is trying to change the rules for power generation and self-supply permits so beneficiaries cannot change. If this happens, investments and users will be compromised, experts and industrialists warned.
Self-supply permits were given under the legislation prior to the 2014 Energy Reform allowing private partnerships to build power plants and allowing more participants to join in the future.
Now, CRE aims to prevent any changes in partnerships or increasing the generation capacity. The commission’s draft will make companies unable to receive incentives that reduce transmission and distribution charges for self-supply contracts, which enabled companies to generate electricity for self-supply.
Sempra’s Mexico Unit IEnova warned about the draft proposal that would make it impossible to supply power to new partners or carry out expansion plans. In a letter posted in response to CRE´s proposal, the energy company laments the “high regulatory impact” and argues that it also would break existing regulations.