This October,Mexico opened the first large-scale solar power plant in the nation’s northern state of Baja California. Not only is the plant the first of its kind in Mexico,but it is also the first in all of Latin America.
With 4,000 photovoltaic panes and 1 MW in generating capacity,the pilot facility will serve as an experimental model for the state owned electric utility Comisión Federal de Electricidad,according to an inaugural speech by President Felipe Calderón. The plant is an integral step in the utility’s plans to increase its capacity to produce renewable energy over the coming years.
“At present,26 percent of the electricity produced in Mexico comes from renewable sources,” shared Calderón. “From water,wind or sun in which no oil,natural gas or diesel is consumed.”
Mexico adopted the 2010-2024 National Development plan just under two years ago,which set a goal of increasing the total share of clean energy that is currently produced in Mexico to 35 percent. The plan will include developing a system that is already being used in other parts of Mexico,where solar panels are mounted on homes to supply electricity and are also connected to the nation’s vast energy grid.
The new solar power plant is located in Santa Rosalia in the center of Mexico real estate on the Baja California península. Microfirm,which is a unit of Grupo Condumex dedicated to developing renewable energy,opened the plant. Mexican businessman Carlos Slim,who also happens to be the world’s richest man,owns Condumex.
In addition to generating electricity using photovoltaic panels,the plant will use solar-tracking technology that orients the panels to remain perpendicular to the sun’s rays throughout the daylight hours.
Another solar plant near the border town of Tecate in Baja California was also announced earlier this year; according to a press release by U.S. firm SolFocus. The U.S. firm will work with energy developer Synergy Technologies and Mexican land and real estate developer Grupo Masa to build the plant,which will have a 450 MW capacity and will be operational by 2013.