07 Nov The photovoltaic boom in Latin America
Solar energy in the last five years has taken a surprising turn in Latin America. Countries like Honduras have gone from 5 MW in 2014 to 460 MW in 2015. Another even more radical example is Chile, which went from 4.9 MW in 2012 to 1,600 MW in 2017. In Mexico, for example, there are 16 plants of huge solar energy.
If there are practically no photovoltaic installations at the beginning of this decade, advances have been made to ensure more than 40 GW installed at the end of it. That is the panorama of this wide geographical space in which Mexico, Chile and Brazil stand out, but Argentina and Colombia are expected to join shortly.
In this scenario, the report made by GTM Research argues that “the Latin American market is in the process of growing exponentially” with a cumulative forecast of 41 GW of photovoltaic energy demand installed between 2016 and 2021. The annual facilities are on the way to doubling in the same period, so at the end of the decade Latin America is expected to represent 10% of the global demand for photovoltaic energy.
Regarding the most active countries in the solar market …
- Chile, a country that has become a world leader in the development of solar energy, thanks to having the Atacama Desert, one of the largest on the planet. Chile tops the list with 1,807 MW operational, 3,250 MW under construction and 2,680 MW contracted. The numbers are especially surprising if you consider that this country started in 2013 with only 11 MW of installed solar capacity. But not only this, Chile began implementing incentive policies and a clear, serious and attractive legal framework for entrepreneurs. Here solar energy is used in agriculture, in the vineyards, in schools and even in the Santiago metro, which is a model for the entire region. Even in 2016 Chile came to give the energy service to residents of areas that have high potential for renewable generation. An unprecedented fact.
- Mexico, meanwhile, has the largest contracted capacity in the entire region, with more than 46 GW of solar energy by 2019. In Mexico, for example, there are 16 huge solar power plants with hundreds of solar panels. This country does not agree with this, wants to triple the figure in the coming years. Currently in Mexico there are 260 renewable energy plants.
- Brazil added about 267 MW of photovoltaic capacity in the last year. The case of Brazil has its peculiarities. Although the country is experiencing a process of political and economic instability, it is expected to remain among the group that leads the site in the region. In any case, the GTM report indicates that the country will soon lose ground with respect to its neighbors if recent trends in the economy and demand are not reversed.
- Argentina, until recently indifferent to renewables, has proposed the objective of covering 8% of the national energy matrix based on renewable energy by 2018. Argentina is another country that has historically had enormous potential for wind and solar. During the last two years, actions have been taken to improve regulatory laws and increase incentives to have more and better investment.
- Colombia recently opened a gigantic solar plant with more than 35,000 solar panels. This country has enormous potential for solar energy that now begins to take advantage. Solar energy does not represent 2% of the national energy matrix but a program is being implemented to bring energy to areas that previously lived in conflict. Solar energy has begun to get the attention of the government and changes have begun to occur.
- Peru is a country that has begun using solar energy to generate prosperity and well-being in isolated rural areas. A plan is currently being promoted in the area of Cusco (Cuzco) for 750,000 families that will receive efficient and sustainable energy.
- El Salvador, in Central America, inaugurated a $ 1.6 billion plant that may be the largest in the region.
- Honduras has gone from 5 MW in 2014 to 460 MW in 2015. It is the country that has promoted the most projects in Central America. Here they have taken solar energy as a serious aspect and are helping to connect those who were previously outside the national power line.
- Nicaragua, in 2017, is developing a huge solar plant, the third in its territory and the largest in its history with 100 MW. In Nicaragua, solar energy has a powerful private public model that has begun to change and clarify the landscape.
- Costa Rica, a country worth admiring because it is 100% renewable. For a year now, this has been located worldwide, however, most of its energy is hydroelectric (76%) and less than 1% solar.
- Panama has the fastest growing economy in Central America. In April, the 42 MW Sol Real plant was inaugurated with an investment of more than 55 million dollars.
In the Caribbean, Cuba is promoting