JinkoSolar has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Argentina’s wholesale electric administration company CAMMESA, for its Iglesia-Guañizuil 80 MWac solar PV project located in the San Juan province. This project was awarded to JinkoSolar at the end of 2016 under the public renewable tender RenovAr 1.5. According to the terms of the PPAs, JinkoSolar will begin generating solar energy by late 2018. All the electricity generated will be sold to CAMMESA under the PPAs for a 20-year period.
The Argentinian government on November 25 awarded 1,281.5 MW of renewable energy capacity under round 1.5 of its renewable energy programme, RenovAR. A total of 30 projects were selected under this additional tender, including 10 wind projects, representing 765.4 MW of capacity and 20 solar PV schemes, totalling 516.2 MW. The total capacity awarded is more than double the 600 MW the government had said it was seeking. The average price achieved was USD 54 per MWh, while the lowest price was USD 46 per MWh for the Pampa wind project.
The project will have a very important impact in the region and will definitely further increase the development of solar power in the region, being one of the largest solar PV projects awarded in a country like Argentina with a lot of solar potential and energy needs.
The story behind JinkoSolar’s Argentina solar bid
Asier Aya, Managing Director Americas of Jinko Solar International Power Division signed the PPA with the Subsecretary of Energy of Argentina and CAMMESA, and explains FuturENERGY the key facts behind this contract.
JinkoSolar has participated in the last year in several international tenders, having been successful in Mexico with 3 projects totaling 250 MWp and in Abu Dhabi with the largest project worldwide. Winning a project in Argentina is a great addition to its portfolio of awarded projects in a region with a lot of potential. “Now we will keep on working on the project finance and we plan to break ground before the end of the year,” adds Asier Aya.
RenovAr 1 and 1.5 was the first renewable tender with international players and international financing available. Not all the international renewable energy companies were on time to bid, but JinkoSolar made it and were successful. It was a big effort that ended with a nice reward. Argentina is really betting in renewable energy and the government is planning to organize soon the second round, RenovAr 2. “We will be keeping a close eye on Argentina’s macro situation and available financing,” adds Aya
JinkoSolar finances its energy projects, although the way varies between markets. In Mexico and Abu Dhabi are commercial banks that provide project finance, but “In Argentina, the name of the game you can really say is financing. You have local banks, but they give rather short tenors and not pure project finance, thus the sponsor needs to take refinancing risk to be competitive and assume some extra corporate guarantees. Just a few international development banks (multilaterals) are providing project debt in Argentina,” comments Asier Aya.
“The main variable that Argentina needs to solve in order to be successful in its ambitious renewable energy goals if they want international and reliable investors coming in, is being able to attract more international financing,” he adds.
The new government of Argentina has made a great effort to put together in a record time the tender and in a moment in time where neighboring countries are more mature as Chile and Brazil. “Argentina has a lot of potential, but they need to keep improving at a macro level mainly in order to attract more foreign investment. The country is not investment grade yet, but it is climbing notch by notch in order to be there.”
Talking about the potential for solar energy in emerging markets, Asier Aya tells us: “Quite a number of emerging markets such as Latin America have a great solar resource and their energy demand keeps on growing. Solar energy prices are now below conventional energy prices in many countries. In this situation, governments, in collaboration with private sector and financial institutions, need to stablish a reliable regulatory framework to develop its rapidly evolving solar energy market. So the potential is enormous now, and even more in a few years when cost-efficient storage solutions arrive.”
Investing overseas offers many potential benefits, but it also comes with risks, for JinkoSolar overcoming this risks is a central task, that the company tackles with a very experiences international team covering several regions to handle and mitigate these risks. JinkoSolar spends a great amount of time analyzing opportunities and the risks that come with those opportunities. “We are focused in markets were projects have a stable currency, a reliable legal framework and where financial institutions are willing to come with us.“, ends Aya.