The largest solar power plant in all of Latin America was inaugurated in Mexico by President Enrique Peña Nieto this week in the northwestern state of Baja California Sur. The Aura Solar I power plant is the nation’s first utility-scale photovoltaic project and will supply electricity to more than 164,000 residents in the city of La Paz.
“The energy industry reforms implemented last December will help lead to ‘more energy generation,cleaner energy and,above all,cheaper energy to help make Mexico a more competitive country,’” stated Peña Nieto,according to Fox News. “The goal is to turn Mexico into ‘a country that attracts greater investment for the development and creation of jobs.’”
Around 25 percent of Mexico’s electricity is already generated from a variety of clean energy sources,but the nation’s 2012 Climate Change Law requires this number to reach 35 percent by 2024 – a goal the current administration is confident it will reach or even surpass.
The new Aura Solar I plant is not only the first large-scale operation of its type in Mexico,but it will also quadruple the nation’s installed photovoltaic capacity and promises to be a “model of success that will be duplicated in other parts of the country,” according to Peña Nieto. In addition,it will replace a “dirty” thermoelectric plant that has been contributing to air pollution in the region for decades.
“Mexico is poised to be the hotbed for solar deployment in Latin America,” stated Adam James,a respected global solar analyst. “There are a number of programs and policies in place that support solar development across market segments,and high insulation levels that ensure solar generates quick returns. We expect impressive year-over-year growth across the board.”
This $100 million project is located on nearly 250 acres near La Paz and was developed by Mexico’s Gauss Energia and Martifer Solar,which is a global engineering company with experience in solar power facility construction. The 30-megawatt Aura Solar plant is estimated to have a life span of at least 30 years and houses more than 132,000 solar panels.