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Latin America: Photovoltaic and renewable (4th part)

20 May 2019

The photovoltaic boom in Latin America seen from country to country. The figures reflect the clear rise in photovoltaic solar energy in this region.


The uncertainty hovers over Argentina, is a headline of Pilar Sánchez in pv magazine 2018 to which the following paragraph is added: Argentina has suspended at the beginning of August the fourth planned round of the RenovAr program, Round 3, which probably will not be carried out in 2019.

The Ministry of Energy and Mining published in August 2017 Resolution 281 in which it establishes the conditions for the signing of contracts between large users of electricity, traders and generators. In this way, the signing of renewable energy purchase agreements between private companies is enabled, and in September the first PPA was signed between two private companies.

In Round 2 of the RenovAr program, the total assigned photovoltaic power ascended to 816.3 MW, according to Pv magaznie 2018. It seems that it was the projects of Round 2 of the RenovAr Program (August 2017) that had difficult financing conditions and restrictions of the network, as we read later. Nevertheless and according to the subsequent data indicate a later recovery.

In the www ámbito.com, but without a date, we find the following headline: "The RenovAr Plan 2 granted 86 renewable energy contracts. The Ministry of Finance finalized the signatures of renewable electricity supply contracts between Cammesa and the successful bidders of the Round 2 of the program, which "represents a 99% success" of the plan ".

Only between 2% and 3% of the electricity consumed by Argentina comes from renewable sources, but aspires to 20% by 2025. The regulatory framework for such a exploit is the National Promotion Regime, approved during the Kirchner administration and to which the President Mauricio Macri has continued through the RenovAr program (...) "There was no way to obtain financing, the problem was in the conditions of the country, not in the projects" (...) The lack of credit is a concern for those who tendered works in the so-called Renew 2, last section of the program. elpaís.com Nov 2018.

According to IRENA, Argentina moves from 9 MW of FTV installed in 2017 to 191 MW in 2018.

Data for 2019:

Argentina historical record in May: 135 projects of Renewable Energies and investments for 7,200 million dollars in wind, solar and biomass. Energíalimpiaparatodos.com 3/05/ 2019.

Solar energy in 300 rural schools in Buenos Aires, Corrientes, Jujuy, Neuquén, Río Negro, La Rioja and Córdoba (...) Argentina shines with the first 100% sustainable airport with solar energy. Energíalimpiaparatodos.com. 8/05/2019

At this moment there are 7 renewable energy projects under construction in the province of San Juan for 130 MW of installed power, representing investments of more than USD 130 million. There are 6 projects of solar photovoltaic technology – resource for which the province has an excellent potential- and a project of small hydroelectric use. Energíalimpiaparatodos.com12/05/ 2019

After an investment of US$400 million, 14 solar parks were inaugurated in three years. (...) "Since 2016, 14 new solar parks began operating and there are still 19 under construction, of which 15 are expected to enter into commercial operation this year, according to data from the Secretary of Energy." Lanacion.com 7/05/2019

"An official report indicates that by 2025 the same (renewable) should represent at least 20%. Despite the financial capsize, the government insists that the investment opportunities exceed US$15,000 million, and they dare tempting foreign companies, "according to rionegro.com. 5/05/2019.


This country, for their part, presented very ambitious targets for solar and renewable for 2018, according to Pv magazine 2018.

Evo Morales is also promoting the use of clean energy by implementing wind and solar projects. At the end of 2018, a 60-MW solar plant is planned to be inaugurated in Uyuni and another 5MW solar plant was inaugurated in March, according to Energíalimpiaparatodos.com.

According to IRENA, there is a notable difference between the photovoltaic power installed in 2017 (8 MW) and that installed in 2018 (71 MW)..


We can check here one of the characteristics already reported for the South American countries: the hydroelectric dependence: "70% of the electricity consumed comes from waterfalls" according to elpaís.com Nov 2018.

Brazil invested, alone in 2015, more than 7,000 million dollars in non-conventional renewables. elpaís.com Nov 2018.

Another of the common characteristics: "Brazil takes off in distributed generation", according to PV Magazine 2018.

Brazil stood out particularly in 2017, since for the first time it installed more than 1 GW of solar energy, mainly of systems adjudicated in auctions. Global Market Outlook For Solar Power / 2018 - 2022.

Brazil became the second country in the region (after Chile) to surpass 1 GW of photovoltaic solar capacity, adding almost everything in a single year (0.9 GW) for a total of 1.1 GW. With this, Brazil went up to the tenth position worldwide for aggregate capacity in 2017, although the country accounted for only about 1% of global additions. REN21 2018.

The country was also the fourth largest market for solar thermal collectors. REN21 2018.

"If the, by far, largest economy in Latin America (Brazil) loosens in its green bet, the renewable revolution of the entire region is at risk." elpaís.com Nov 2018.

According to IRENA, the years 2017 and 2018, have been of great growth of the Brazilian installed PV, going from the 80 MW of 2016, to surpass the GW in 2017 (1097 MW), doubling the figure for 2018 (2296 MW). Among the countries that we consider, it is only surpassed by Mexico. And apparently, the trend does not give: "Another big auction for solar in Brazil".


Chile: year of milestones, according to PV Magazine 2018.

The country monopolized headlines when it announced that the NCRE were responsible in October for 20.2% of the generation of the interconnected systems of the Norte Grande (SING) and Central (SIC), representative of almost all of the country's electricity consumption, which were connected at the end of the year (...) The entry into operation of more than 1,760 MW of NCRE during 2017 largely explains this milestone (...) The Chilean renewable energy association ACERA went further and announced in January the objective that the country be 100% renewable in 2040 (...) Chile already has almost 2.1 GW of solar (2,091 MW exactly) according to the statistics of July 2018 (...) Solar is the predominant source among renewables, with 48% of the net installed capacity. 

"Chile has struggled with transmission restrictions, which have slowed the connection of new projects; the infrastructure was expected to relieve congestion by the end of the year. Chile maintained its leadership in the region, adding about 0.7 GW in 2017 for a total of 1.7 GW. " REN21 2018.

According to IRENA, accounted for all year 2018, the total MW of PV installed in the country was 2137 (more than 2.1GW). In the previous article we graph the spectacular rise of Chilean PV in recent years.

Chile, the undisputed leader of the Southern Cone in renewables (...) Thanks to the public policy initiated in 2014, in four years, wind and solar have gone from 4% to 20%. (...) There were seven different laws that modified, among other things, the way in which tenders were made between generators and distributors, according to elpaís.com Nov 2018. Here we highlight another of the characteristics that we have listed in the energy development of these countries: the transformation between tenders.


Colombia installs its first photovoltaic power station in 2017, according to Global Market Outlook For Solar Power / 2018-2022.

Also in 2017, Colombia commissioned its first solar park (9.8 MW) on the site of an old coal mine. The country uses solar energy to diversify its electricity mix, which depends to a large extent on hydroelectric power. REN21 2018.

The contribution of renewable energy to the electric mix only reaches 3%, and the government announced that by 2028 there could be between 143 and 239 MW of solar, according to PV Magazine 2018

After pointing out the regulatory difficulties, the same web continues: Fortunately, in March the decree was issued that allows long-term contracting for renewables, so that large wind and solar projects participate in the next energy auctions in the country.

Solar energy is so important in countries like Colombia, that is part of a novel program called PaZa la Corriente, which brings light and hope to areas that for years were obscured because of armed conflicts and drug trafficking. Energíalimpiaparatodos.com 28/08/2017

Colombia ranks first in Latin America and number 8 worldwide in renewable energy according to the Global Energy Architecture Performance Index (EAPI) of the World Economic Forum. Energíalimpiaparatodos.com 26/09/2018

Mission of experts works on route for the energy transformation in Colombia Energíalimpiaparatodos.com 8/05/2019

Colombia receives US$600 million to boost wind, solar and biomass energy. "Non-conventional sources of renewable energy have been growing steadily in the last decade, but still only represent one percent of the total energy matrix of Colombia," said María Alexandra Planas, IDB team leader . Inter-American Development Bank. Energíalimpiaparatodos.com 10/05/2019.

Colombia: 50 megawatts, corresponding to the capacity currently installed in clean sources throughout the country (...) 1,500 megawatts. Reaching that amount of production in renewable, which would represent 10% of the total, is the objective that has been set by the Executive of President Ivan Duque before the end of his term in 2022 (...) Almost half a million homes still lack electricity (...) One of these commitments (governmental) is an auction (...) scheduled for the first half of 2019 and includes incentives for renewable energy sources, specifically, projects in the solar, wind and biomass sectors (...) "It is inexplicable that fossil fuels are exempt from VAT and that the tools of sustainability are stoned" elpaís.com Nov 2018.

With its 86.2 MW total capacity, it represents 80% of the country's total installed solar capacity (...) it can meet the energy consumption needs of approx. 102,000 Colombian homes, which is equivalent to about 400,000 people. Energíalimpiaparatodos.com 29/04/2019


Three quarters of the energy generated in Central American territory came from renewable sources in 2017 (...) In 2011, the percentage of clean energy was almost 13 points below. Costa Rica is -together with Uruguay, one of the only six countries in the world that has already achieved that 100% of the electricity it consumes is of renewable origin, according to elpaís.com Nov 2018.

The new distributed generation law currently being discussed by the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica would be approved before 2018, according to PV Magazine 2018.

Costa Rica, according to IRENA, remains between the 22 MW of photovoltaic power installed in 2015 and the 28 MW corresponding to 2018.


In Cuba, the photovoltaic power reached 65 MW in 2017, year in which approximately 32 MW of new solar installations were connected to the Cuban network. These new projects should allow the country to cross the 100 MW goal this year. Cuba plans to install 700 MW of solar for 2030, according to PV Magazine.

According to IRENA, it reached 96 MW by 2018 (from 65 MW in 2017).


The country reached 91 MW of installed photovoltaic power: solar currently accounts for 1.7 percent of the country's generation capacity, represented essentially by large solar plants, and is the sixth generation source. According to the National Electric Energy Commission, distributed generation had reached 12.7 MW of installed power in May 2017, reports PV Magazine.

According to IRENA, the installed PV was 93 MW (2016), 99 MW (2017) and 114 MW (2018).

Guatemala has one of the largest photovoltaic plants in the region with 5 MW of power and about 20 thousand solar panels. Energíalimpiaparatodos.com


Haiti has eliminated customs tariffs for photovoltaic components, according to PV Magazine

Haiti, which has 67% of its population without electricity, that is, 7 million people. Reve 26/07/2018.


61% of Honduras' energy came from renewable sources: in 2016, 10.2% of its electric mix corresponded to the generation of photovoltaic plants and it became the first country in the world to achieve this goal.

Honduras ranks first in Central America in photovoltaic generation; At present, the country has 15 solar plants that generate 454 MW, according to PV Magazine.

It is the leading country in solar throughout Central America and the third in growth in Latin America. In a short time he has established a dozen solar plants in Choluteca and other regions of the country. Energíalimpiaparatodos.com

Honduras, with 2 million people (of its population) without electricity. Reve 2018.

Honduras has reached high VRE shares, at 17%. REN21 2018.

Honduras has stood out as an emerging power in the field of solar energy. elpaís.com Nov 2018.

According to IRENA 451 MW (2017) and 516 MW (2018) in installed FTV.

Honduras faces a retroactive review of solar tariffs. PV Magazine 8/05/2019


Half of Mexico will be renewable in 2024. In the next three years, 40 new solar plants will be built in the country, as a result of the auctions. 

Mexico will generate 43% of its energy with renewable energy in 2024. Pv magazine 13/04/2019.

The prices obtained are among the lowest recently in the world, with offers that reached in the last contest, the 19.7 dollars per megawatt hour for solar photovoltaic. Energíalimpiaparatodos.com 23/01/2019.

"The photovoltaic energy market in Latin America will grow 20% in 2019 with Mexico as the main driver", head of PV Magazine 20/03/2019.

Mexico is the only one of the countries that we believe produces solar thermal energy, 14 MW by 2018, which, added to those produced by photovoltaics, gives us a total of 2555 MW of solar energy, placing this country as the first of those we consider in this work.

Renewable energies already produce more than 16% of Mexican electricity. The increase has been spectacular since the approval, in 2013, of the energy reform: in five years, wind generation has almost tripled and solar, slower to take off, has taken an unprecedented jump in 2017, increasing by five its production in just one year (...) Asolmex (Mexican Association of photovoltaic energy), is even more optimistic and expects to multiply by four the generation in three years (...) There is a certain fear, then, that renewables are relegated to a second plane and that some of the pillars of the energy reform are undone. elpaís.com Nov 2018.

Mexico triples production of photovoltaic solar energy.enerray.com/es 10/12/2018.


Nicaragua has also slowed down its progress in renewables, according to Pilar Sánchez from pv magazine. According to IRENA to the 30 MW reached in 2017, none is added in 2018.

The government also announced that it planned a dozen large-scale MW and 11,000 isolated photovoltaic projects by 2018, but since the country's unfortunate political events, nothing has been heard of its energy policies, PV Magazine continues reporting.

Nicaragua has reached VRE quotas of 15%, according to REN21 2018.


In Panama, the generation of renewable energy grew by 9% compared to 2016, and the generation of photovoltaic energy increased by 138.4% in the first half of 2017 year compared to the same period in 2016, according to Pilar Sánchez.

According to IRENA, the installed photovoltaic remains at 147 MW during 2017 and 2018.

In Panama, 31 companies participated in the first tender for the contracting of large-scale solar power (66MW) last year.Energíalimpiaparatodos.com 24/12/2018.


In the list of our previous article (12/12/2017) Paraguay appeared without data. As of today these are the data we have found:

1. A few months after launching a Renewable Energy Law (expected at the end of 2017) the Executive Power of Paraguay totally vetoed the law project. PV Magazine 2018.
2. Paraguay: 90% of the industrial heat supplied by renewable energy. REN21 2018.
3. "Renewable energies in Paraguay Current situation and future scenarios. 2009 ".

4. "Bolivia and Paraguay advance electric interconnection with support from KFW" according to a head of energialimpiaparatodos.com 16/05/2019.


We saw in the previous article, the two parks that Tsolar installed in 2012 (Majes 22 MW and Distribution 22 MW) in the Arequipa area.  

Peru is promoting the use of solar energy. The challenge of the sector is to bring energy to 2.2 million Peruvians from rural areas through the extension of networks and solar panels. Energíalimpiaparatodos.com 2014.

Peru plans to launch a new auction for renewables in the second half of 2018. PV Magazine 16/03/2018.

According to IRENA, our country went from 153 MW installed in 2017 to 345 MW in 2018.

"Peru's challenge lies in the promotion of sustainable energy planning that can ensure a growing national energy demand." concienciaeco.com 9 /09/2018.


In Puerto Rico, micro and mini-networks have proliferated after Hurricane María devastated the electrical installation in September 2017.

According to IRENA, Puerto Rico has installed a capacity of 165 MW of photovoltaic.


It will also tender concessions for large-scale renewable projects, through PPAs, according to PV Magazine 2018.

According to IRENA, this country goes from 68 MW (2016) to 103 MW (2017) and 166 MW in 2018.


Disappointing long-term forecasts for El Salvador (...) El Salvador announced in 2017 that it will only install 228 MW of photovoltaic energy until 2025 (...) In January of this year the CNE held an auction for 119 MW of solar energy, according to PV Magazine 2018

According to IRENA, El Salvador has installed 119 MW of PV in 2017 and 184 MW in 2018.


This country is preparing for its first MW photovoltaic projects: Three solar plants will be built in the country, according to PV Magazine.

Currently, it has installed 7 MW of PV.


This country still does not define a clear policy for solar, according to PV Magazine. 2018

Uruguay obtains 98% of its electricity from renewable energy, reports Ren21 2018.

In Uruguay, the VRE ratio increased considerably in a short period of time, from 1% in 2013 to 28% in 2017. REN21 2018.

Some days, 100% of your electricity network is supplied by renewable sources. elpaís.com Nov 2018.

The figures for the PV installed in the country, according to IRENA are 90, 239 and 248 MW for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively.


P. Grima Gallardo: Photovoltaic Development in Venezuela. Sept. 2017. researchgate.net

We note one of the final conclusions: "Even though President Chávez intuited, supported and recommended the development of a post-oil Venezuela through alternative energy systems, from 2013 the program was abandoned."

Interestingly, the installed PV figures that IRENA publishes refer to this country are 4 MW by 2018, while they were 5 MW a year earlier.

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