Beth Buczynski

Latin America's Biggest Solar Farm Will Replace a Dirty Fossil Fuel Plant in Mexico

by , 02/28/14

Aura Solar I, solar energy Latin America, biggest solar farm in Latin America, Mexico solar power, commercial-grade solar, alternative energy in Mexico, solar power plant

Just a few weeks ago the world’s largest solar thermal power plant switched online in Nevada, and now the largest solar plant in Latin America is underway just south of the border. Aura Solar I — a 30-megawatt solar farm– is currently under construction in La Paz, Mexico, and it will be the country’s first utility-scale photovoltaic project. The plant will be capable of fulfilling the energy needs of 164,000 people (64 percent of La Paz’s population), but that’s not even the best part – it will also replace a dirty thermoelectric plant that’s been poisoning residents with air pollution for years.

“Mexico is poised to be the hotbed for solar deployment in Latin America,” Adam James, global solar analyst and author of the Latin America PV Playbook told Greentech Media. “There are a number of programs and policies in place that support solar development across market segments, and high insolation levels that ensure solar generates quick returns. We expect impressive year-over-year growth across the board.”

Covering 100 hectares of land, with 131,800 one-axis tracked polycrystalline photovoltaic modules, Aura Solar I will lead the groundswell. The solar farm’s operational life is around 30 years, and it will be capable of churning out 82 GW annually. The secret to such massive generation? The intense insolation that Baja California Sur receives. Experts say the area clocks in at about 7.5 kWh/m2/day, which is “about three times the average levels in Germany and 50 percent higher than southern California.” According to Think Progress, the $100 million project “is the first Mexican private enterprise of such a size to get a development bank loan and an agreement to sell its electricity to the grid.”

The solar plant’s energy supply will be exclusively delivered to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), through a 20-year renewable Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). CFE will pay for energy calculated through the Short Term Total Cost (CTCP) of La Paz’s local generation, reports Smart Energy Universe.

Via Think Progress

Image via russf

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