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Latin America: Photovoltaic and renewable (2nd part)

20 December 2017

The trend to build solar parks in Latin America with photovoltaic energy is increasing.


Argentina is a country that has historically had a huge potential for wind and solar energy. In recent years, actions have been taken to improve regulatory laws and increase incentives, according to energialimpiaparatodos.com June 14, 2017.

In May 2009, the Energy Secretariat launched the GENREN (Renewable Generation) program with the objective of encouraging the installation of renewable energies in Argentina, according to the newspaper La Nación of 5/12/2010. This program included 20 MW of solar energy. Although there were previous laws, "in 2015, Argentina (was) approved legislation to promote the development of renewable energy. The legislation contemplates a renewable energy target of 8% in 2017 and 20% in 2025 "as reported by the energy newspaper in Feb 2017.

On August 16, 2017, the Ministry of Energy and Mining of Argentina issued Resolution 275/17 regarding the open call to participate in renewable energy auctions. The government also established maximum allocation prices in dollars MW / h for each of the technologies. The photovoltaic solar had an average of 57, 04 dollars MW/h.

"Round 2 of the RenovAr Program launched last August 17 through resolution 275, attracted an investor interest of the order of 11,000 million dollars," as reported by cronista.com on 11/29/2017.


In rural areas, it has small (50-100 w) systems for lighting, telecommunications, pumping and water purification.

Until November 2016, Bolivia has an installed capacity of only 5 MW of photovoltaic solar energy. However, Bolivia is one of the countries with the highest solar radiation in the world: in the southern highlands 2,700 Kwh / m2-year and in the east 1,800 Kwh/m2-year. Germany, which has only one third of the territory that Bolivia has, as well as only half of its solar radiation, has 8,000 times more photovoltaic installed than the Andean country. These are figures that force us to think about the enormous potential of this country regarding this technology.


"To date, Brazil has manufactured and installed photovoltaic equipment only on a small scale. Employment in photovoltaic solar energy is estimated at 4,000 jobs, but it is expected to increase with further deployment in the future. In fact, several manufacturers have shown interest in establishing photovoltaic solar energy manufacturing facilities, "according to IRENA Renewable Energy and Jobs. Annual Review 2016

"Brazil is about to become a 1 gigawatt market after the development of several large projects tendered in 2014," according to Manan Parikh, an analyst at GTM Research. According to the report prepared by this consultancy GTM "the photovoltaic market in Brazil added 267 MW in photovoltaic capacity in 2016, although it must be accredited" hoping to remain in the leading group in the region.

"The MME bulletin reveals that large-scale photovoltaics, represented by solar projects with power exceeding 5 megawatts selected in the government auction, has reached a capacity of 145 MW, registering a growth of 121 MW compared to the end of December 2016 (...) Currently the country has a total generation capacity of 152.8 GW, according to the MME report (...) Solar continues to have a very limited role in the Brazilian electric mix with a percentage of just 0.2 percent "reports on 08/07/2017, pv-magazine.


Leader in the Latin American region in accumulated photovoltaic capacity. The graph shows that its exponentially growing evolution takes place during the last 4 years.

Together with Honduras and Mexico it is the leading group in FTV, of all the territory that extends from Rio Bravo to Cape Horn.

The REN21 magazine takes into account this evolution of Chilean photovoltaics, placing this country in its top 10 countries at the end of 2016.

There are slight nuances in terms of exact figures, depending on which sources provide the data. However, the differences between them are minimal.


At present, the country only has a 9.9 MW photovoltaic power plant, recently inaugurated. Solar energy does not reach 2% of the national energy mix, according to Energialimpiapara todos.com 06/14/17.

This country has a huge potential for solar energy. Photovoltaic projects registered in Colombia have increased significantly in recent years. As of December 2016, 160 solar projects with a total capacity of 1.2 GW were registered.

Solar energy has begun to attract the attention of the government that published Decree 348 of March 1, 2017, new legislation to support the installation of small and medium-sized generators of renewable energy and solar energy throughout the country.

Pv magazine 2017/11/06 announces: Colombia announces first auction for solar and renewable energy. In the auction, which will take place before the next elections scheduled for May 2018, the Colombian government will select solar, wind and biomass energy projects.


Costa Rica: a country worthy of admiration because it is 100% renewable. For a year now this has placed it on a global level. However, most of its energy -76%, is hydroelectric and less than 1% solar. energialimpiaparatodos.com/2017/06/14

According to Monica Morales, a Costa Rican researcher at the Photovoltaic Energy Laboratory of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (Switzerland), the amount of sunlight that arrives is "extraordinarily high", especially in the North Pacific where, she said, the irradiation reaches an level comparable to a generation of electricity with solar light of 2,200 kWh for one year. However - he continues, in Costa Rica, less than 0.1% of the electricity consumed by sunlight is produced. Reports: Naciòn.com October 31, 2016.


"In the Caribbean, Cuba is promoting an ambitious investment plan that seeks to build more than 50 solar parks in the largest of the Antilles; The potential is enormous and countries like Spain, China and Germany have started to support several initiatives on the island. " energialimpiaparatodos.com June 14, 2017.


According to Irena, Ecuador has a photovoltaic capacity installed at the end of 2016 of 29 MW.


"Honduras, first country in the world with 10% solar in its electric mix" title of an article published in January 2017 by pv-magazine-latam.com. Other data:

In 2015, 388 photovoltaic MW were installed, in addition to 45 in 2016, which places the country as the leader in Central America in installed photovoltaic capacity with 433 MW.

10.2% of the electricity mix corresponded to the generation of photovoltaic plants in 2016.

"In 2016, photovoltaic solar energy represented 9.8% of the generation network in Honduras.

Chile and Honduras (...) had sufficient photovoltaic solar energy capacity by the end of 2016 to meet 2% or more of their electricity demand, "reports REN21. Renewables 2017 Global Status Report p. 69

Chile and Honduras led the Latin American ranking in 2016 with respect to pv.

"Together, renewable energies accounted for 52 percent of the Honduran electricity matrix (in 2016)," reports pv-magazine-latam.com


According to the report, "Manual of photovoltaic energy in Latin America" ​​of GTM Research, currently Mexico has:

The second largest demand for electricity in Latin America.

It will account for most of Latin America's demand until 2022, with 60 percent coming from bidding projects and 40 percent distributed generation.

The largest photovoltaic capacity contracted in the entire region considered, with more than 4 GW during the 2018-19 biennium.

A forecast of participation in the mix by renewable energies, of 25% for 2018, 30% for 2021 and 35% for 2024, according to a law approved by the Mexican government in 2012.

According to El Economista.com (05/22/2016): "the tendency to build solar parks with photovoltaic energy is increasing. In 2015, 174 permits were granted to generate solar energy using photovoltaic technology, which represents an increase of 135% against the 74 authorizations granted a year before, according to data from the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE). "

"Result of the auctions of March and September of last year (2016), the photovoltaic emerged as the big winner, overwhelming in both, with 4.2 GW of capacity (generation), at prices as low as 33 dollars MW / h "Informs renovablesverdes.com on April 18, 2017.

We can read the margin of increase that is to be achieved in this country with photovoltaic solar energy.

"According to the Secretary of Energy -continues the previous quote, Mexico will need 58 GW more (...) to meet its electricity demand in 2029. But only 3.2% of that energy will be the contribution of solar energy"


Nicaragua where solar energy has a powerful public-private model that has begun to change the landscape. In 2017 it develops a huge solar plant in the west of the country, the third and also the largest in its history with 100 MW. energialimpiaparatodos.com June 14, 2017.

america.energias-renovables.com has a headline dated 27 Nov 2017 under the title: President Ortega proposes to extend renewable incentives for five more years


In Panama, a country that has one of the fastest growing economies in Central America, they are also taking advantage of the sun. In April 2017, a 42MW plant was inaugurated, according to energialimpiaparatodos.com, June 14, 2017.

Panama added 46 MW in photovoltaic plants in 2016. With the addition of 7 new photovoltaic plants, an accumulated power of 89 MW was reached. With this, photovoltaics represented 2.87% of the generation capacity and covered 0.67% of the electricity production in the country. On the other hand, 20 photovoltaic plants totaling just over 300 megawatts have a definitive license and another 36 photovoltaic projects with close to 430 megawatts have a provisional license. Pv-magazine 13 March 2017.


There are hardly any data on photovoltaics in this country. Irena does not collect data in its 2016 listings that we present.


According to Irena, Peru has an installed capacity of 96 MW of photovoltaic energy by the end of 2016. We reproduce a map of the Peruvian region where the parks managed by the T-Solar Group (44 MW) are installed.


El Salvador inaugurated a 1,600 million dollar plant, perhaps the largest in the region. Energialimpiapara todos.com June 14, 2017.


According to data from Irena, Uruguay has 86 MW of photovoltaic power installed at the end of 2016.


According to energynews.es reports 06/15/2015: Venezuela intends to become one of the leading countries in Latin America in the use of renewable energy. At the moment, renewable energies in Venezuela are at a very incipient point without the great historical development of hydraulics that generates more than 60% of national electricity consumption. Until recently, the Venezuelan market was focused on off-grid systems of up to 25 kilowatts (kW).

Operational since May 2015, the largest solar plant in the country generates more than 1,400 MW / h per year and has 1.1 MW of power.


We present some tables of data related to the topic that concerns us: Latin America and renewable energies (especially photovoltaic).


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