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Photovoltaic Mexico

24 July 2019

The Aztec country enjoys unbeatable conditions to become one of the world's photovoltaic strongholds. At Latin American level, it is already the first.

We start with a graph referring to 2017, published by SENER (Secretary of Energy of Mexico). It shows the% corresponding to each of the renewable sources, which together account for approximately 30% of the total installed electricity generation capacity.

Although the data dances somewhat at the end of 2018 compared to other sources (Héctor Olea / Asolmex) we consider Irena's data as a valid reference.

And based on these figures we elaborate the following graph, where we can see the exponential grow that the photovoltaic installation made the past year (2018).

The year 2018 was favorable for this country that shares being North and Latin American.

According to a report by gtm research (2017), Mexico will account for most of Latin America's demand until 2022, with 60 percent coming from bidding projects and 40 percent from distributed generation. It is evident that it includes the Mexican country among the most important (5th) solar markets of 2018.

Other data on Mexican renewables consumption can be found in the BP 2019 Statistics report:

We have highlighted in the graph the difference between the 1.2 TW / h generated by the solar in 2017, from the 2.2 TW / h generated by the same source in 2018.

We start again: the growth of this type of energy in the last six months gives the following figures:

The Mexican Association of Solar Energy (ASOLMEX) reported that the sector grew 32 percent, going from 3,075 MW in December 2018 to 4,057 MW in June 2019.

4,057 GW: Record in the installed capacity of Photovoltaic Energy in Mexico: 3,364 MW in large solar farms and 693 MW in Distributed Solar Generation. Jorge Zarco reports in PV Magazine.

Taking stock of the first six months of this year, Héctor Olea, President of ASOLMEX (interviewed by Jorge Zarco): "Mexico is called to be a global player in solar energy, one of the most competitive and dynamic. Sustained growth contributes to meet the country's demand for electricity, which grows at an annual rate of more than three percent. " During last December, the country had 38 solar power plants in commercial operation, located in eleven states. A little more than five months away, 44 solar parks * operate in 14 states with an installed capacity of 3,364 MW, which represents a 34 percent growth in large-scale generation. This represents investments for more than 6,500 million dollars, as well as the creation of more than 50 thousand jobs (PV Magazine 18/06/2019).

The 42 solar power plants that are currently in commercial operation in 13 states of the country - Aguascalientes, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, State of Mexico, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Sonora and Yucatán -, with an installed capacity of 2,945 megawatts (MW) and direct investments for 6,300 million dollars, according to Israel Hurtado, Secretary General of Asolmex, energiaadebate.com 13/05/2019.

"Regarding the Long Term Auctions, it is important to highlight that 12 solar power stations, out of the 42 that are currently in operation, were assigned through the first and second auctions, which translates into a capacity of 2,204 MW and investments for more than 5 billion dollars ", according to the secretary general of Asolmex.

"Until now, auctions have played a major role in large-scale implementation. After two successful auctions of renewable energy in 2016, the third round of auctions took place in November 2017, and solar energy obtained most of the renewable energy projects (55%), with a total of 1.3 GW of solar capacity contracted. An average price of 18.93 USD / MWh set a world record at that time. In total, the three auctions assigned 4.8 GW of solar generation capacity. (...) Following a temporary suspension in December 2018, the state-owned electricity company of Mexico, the CFE, announced in February 2019 the cancellation of the fourth round of auctions for renewable energy generation capacity (...) It is expected that the Corporate PPAs will compensate for the cancellation of the auction only to a limited extent, although this trend could lead to a more sustainable solar market in the long term. (Viridiana Vázquez Guerrero; Asolmex)

Large photovoltaic plants on land are experiencing exponential growth. March 22, 2019. 

Mexico is one of the ten countries with the highest investment in clean energy in the entire planet and in terms of energy efficiency it has consolidated as the leader of Latin America, according to the Secretary of Energy SENER in November 2018.

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


In Distributed Solar Generation (GSD), in December 2018 there were 85 thousand contracts nationwide with an installed capacity of 570 MW. Today, 94,893 solar roofs operate, which translates into an installed capacity of 693 MW, representing a growth of 22 percent in just six months. The GSD has achieved direct investments of more than 1,800 million dollars and the creation of more than six thousand jobs. PV Magazine

More than 80 thousand interconnection contracts in Mexico. In 2018, Mexico has quadrupled solar capacity compared to 2012. To date (Dec 2018) there are more than 80 thousand distributed generation contracts in the country, which implies a generation capacity of 496 MW in roofs of houses and shops in the national territory.

It is estimated that only this year more than 40 thousand photovoltaic systems were installed; an increase of almost 50% compared to the 27 thousand that were installed during 2017, and even greater compared to the 12 thousand installations made during the previous year.

At the national level, the state that has the first place in adoption of photovoltaic energy at residential and commercial level is Jalisco. They are followed by Nuevo León, Mexico City, Chihuahua and Mérida (sde.mx 19/12/2018).

"In 2018 around 350 Megawatts were installed in Mexico as far as distributed generation is concerned and this year the market expects this amount to be doubled. Mexico could close 2019 with 700 megawatts generated with solar energy "(10/02/2019 eleconomista.com.mx).

"At the same time, the Distributed Solar Generation has also accelerated its growth significantly. In this context, there are currently more than 94 thousand solar roofs distributed in homes, industries and SMEs in practically the entire country, although with greater presence in the cities of Mexico, Guadalajara and Monterrey. Israel Hurtado at energiaadebate.com.

"Currently there are more than 100,000 solar roofs distributed in homes, industrial and commercial buildings, in practically the entire country. The competitiveness of distributed solar energy, based on the disaggregation of the state electricity company, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), opens up to competition in the market. " Viridiana Vázquez de Asolmex, in Mexico. Solar Power Europe 2019.

  The GSD has achieved direct investments of more than 1,800 million dollars and the creation of more than six thousand jobs in the entire value chain, which positions this technology as one of the most successful and competitive in Mexico. Asolmex


We take a few paragraphs of the text PRODESEN 2018-2032 (National Electricity System Development Program, Mexico)

"In Mexico, the first thermo-solar project in Agua Prieta, Sonora, is under construction, which will enter into operation during 2018 and will have a capacity of 14 MW. The Agua Prieta II solar thermal project was developed with the support of the World Bank and its use will allow the generation of an integrated combined cycle solar system (ISCCS) technology in Mexico to be incentivized, in order to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases.

The leading countries in this technology are the United States of America and Spain, with almost 82% of the installed capacity in the world. Likewise, countries such as China, Italy, Germany, Israel, Thailand and Turkey have pilot plants in operation. During the period 2008 - 2017, the installed solar thermal capacity in the world multiplied nine times, going from 0.5 to 4.9 GW ".

On May 20-22, 2019, the Annual International Mexican Renewable Energy Congress took place at the World Trade Center in Mexico City, a forum for the meeting of the main agents of the sector.

Both the CFE (Federal Electricity Commission) and SENER (Secretariat of Energy) announced the forthcoming presentation of a new National Electric Sector Development Program (PRODESEN).

Some of the opinions collected in this event:

Asolmex: Israel Hurtado and Viridiana Vázquez, already commented.

GMI Consulting: the rules of the game have changed radically with the new administration. El país.com Nov 2018 echoes this fact: The change of government has opened another crack of uncertainty in the sector (...) There is a certain fear, then, that renewables are relegated to the background and that they are falling apart some of the pillars of the energy reform.

National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy (Conuee): it should begin to discuss how the transport plan will be changed towards a greater use of electricity. In other different contexts of the Congress, other actors intervene in the same debate: "The production of clean energy could" fall short "with respect to the goals, according to a report by the Mexican employers' organization Coordinating Council (CCE) published in October, if not Challenges such as the expansion of the electric transmission network are addressed. This is a crucial point (...) "Jon Martín Cullell. elpais.com

This data, considered basic, the state of the electricity transmission network, is also addressed by Viridiana Vázquez in her article for Solar Power Europe 2019: "the currently underdeveloped electricity network constitutes an additional challenge for the future solar expansion, especially the plants large scale that take place in remote areas. To face these obstacles, actions to improve the administration of the network should aim to strengthen the capacity of transmission and distribution systems. " It is also alluded to in the following point (participant of the congress).

Development Bank of the French State (AFD): the country has two outstanding issues in terms of electricity generation: the increase in transmission capacity and distributed generation projects that are socially sustainable and profitable.

Other agents: Mexico has an annual growth of more than 4% in electricity demand.

The Mexican country has lots of Laws on energy regulation and planning. We emphasize only those closest to the purposes of this work:

The most important Law of the sector for the promotion of NCRE (renewable) is the LAERFTE and its reforms. The Law for the Use of Renewable Energy and the Financing of the Energy Transition (LAERFTE) of 2008 with reforms in 2011 and 2013.

General objectives of this law are:

1. Regulate the development of RE in Mexico.
2. Define a national strategy for energy development.
3. Create financing instruments for the defined energy transition.

Indicative objectives are:

1. Do not generate more than 65% of electricity with fossil fuels by 2024.
2. No more than 60% by 2035
3. No more than 50% in 2050.

It does not specifically define the contribution of different technologies.

The last edition (that we know) of the Energy Transition Law is from 2015.

Another important law is the one mentioned by Jon Martín Cullell on elpais.com in November 2018: "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. "

Another important government document is the National Electricity System Development Program 2018-2032 (PRODESEN), from which we extract the following graphic.


Conventional thermoelectric internal combustion and turbogas. Totals may not match due to rounding. Source. Prepared by SENER.

Finally, we quote a final governmental report (SENER): Prospects for Renewable Energy 2016-2030.

We extract some paragraphs from this:

"In the case of Mexico, an increase in installed capacity of 568.2% is expected, going from 1,031.2 MW in 2016 to 6,890.9 MW in 2030. It should be noted that there will be two significant periods for the addition of electricity generation capacity, the first will be between 2016 and 2018, with about 3,546.6 MW.

The second period comprises from 2020 to 2030, with 2025, 2026 and 2027, which will have the largest addition of capacity to be installed with 3,288.1 MW.

Regarding the generation of electric power, this will increase 2,180.7% (equivalent to 12,140.4 GWh), and thus be located at 12,697.1 GWh at the end of the projection period ".

Algunas de las páginas y autores consultados:

BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2019
IRENA. Estadísticas de capacidad renovable 2019.
IEA-PVS. Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme.Annual Report 2018
Virdiana Vázquez Guerrero: México, en Solar Power Europe. Asociación Mexicana de Energía Solar (ASOLMEX), 2019.
Mauricio Solano-Peralta: Estado actual de la energía solar fotovoltaica en Latinoamérica y el Caribe.Olade (Organización Latinoamericana de Energía) 2015.
Daniel Aguilar y Daniel Elizondo: El auge de la energía solar y su impacto en el mercado mexicano. Deloitte 2017.
Manan Parikh: Latin America PV Playbook. GTM Research, 2017.
Ignacio Fariza: La segunda revolución renovable de América Latina. El País, 2018.
Jon Martín Cullell y Álvaro Murillo: La eólica y la solar se abren paso en México y Centroamérica entre la ambición y la incertidumbre. El País 2018.
Jorge Zarco: 4,057 GW: Récord en la capacidad instalada de Energía Fotovoltaica en México. Pv-magazine, junio 2019.
Efrain Mariano: México en camino de ser un referente en la industria solar fotovoltaica mundial. Energyandcommerce.com.mx Mayo 2019.
Karol García: Gobierno divulga en dos semanas su plan de transición energética. Eleconomista.com.mx, Mayo 2019.
Israel Hurtado: México se consolida como potencia en energía solar. Energiaadebate.com Mayo 2019.


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