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photovoltaic energy

With Latin America’s emergence as the hottest region for solar development in recent years, Mexico has taken the lead with a dynamic energy transition that sets the stage for unprecedented solar growth. An abundance of solar resources, high power prices, falling technology costs, and an increasing need for resource diversification combine to place Mexico among the global leaders for PV development.

The country is set to double its distributed generation capacity this year, with more than 300 MW of new installations, after Mexico’s regulatory commission increased the upper limit for net metering plants to 500 kW. Authorities are working to foster DG as a slice of its 40 percent renewable energy target by 2035. For this to happen, the country will need to get around 18 percent of its generation from solar, compared to less than 1 percent at present.

At Solar Summit Mexico 2018 experts will discuss the massive opportunity that exists in this market and how to best take advantage of it.

This two-day event will leverage GTM Research’s regional expertise in Mexico to ensure your company is uniquely positioned to capture specific opportunities while appropriately managing regulatory, political, and market risks.

2018 conference themes will be:

  • Mexico PV on the global stage
  • Large-scale solar development in Mexico
  • The opportunities of distributed generation in the Mexican market
  • Bringing down the cost of PV
  • Tariffs, manufacturing, & distribution strategies
  • Financing: solar in Mexico

Everything you need to know about solar financing in Mexico

According to EY, only 15% of the Mexican electricity auctions have been project financed so far and mostly by multilateral development banks. Other than corporate finance, a lot of projects are still suffering to get to financial closing.

Investors all around the world are looking to Mexican PV and Solar Summit Mexico 2018 will dedicate a full day at to diving deep into solar finance. Those attending the event will hear about the various strategies being employed, new avenues on the buyer side of generation and the attractive prices and schemes. Take a look at the schedule at-a-glance:

Making large-scale projects a reality: Access to Solar Financing in Mexico
• Dino Barajas, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
• Carlos Carranza, Project Development Director, North American Development Bank
• Marian Aguirre Nienau, Head of Power Projects, Bancomext
• Adrián Katzew, CEO, Zuma Energía

Adapting Project Finance to the New Era of Distributed Energy Projects
• John Bates, CEO, Prana Power
• Franco Capurro, Founder & CEO, Caaapital
• Marco G. Monroy, Founder & CEO, MGM Innova Capital

Strategies for Developers to Leverage Specialized Financing
• Eduardo Reyes Bravo, Manager, PwC
• Carlos Isorna, Vice President, Macquarie Mexican Infrastructure Fund (“MMIF”)
• Patricia Tatto, Partner & Country Head, Mexico & Central America, Ata Renewables

How third parties are thriving in a deregulated landscape
• Rodrigo Esparza, Compliance Officer, CFE Calificados
• Juan B. Guichard, CEO, Ammper

Source: GTM Research

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With more than 2.2 GW supplied for projects around the world and a forecasted turnover of €200m for the end of 2017, Soltec has become the fastest growing renewable energy company in Europe.

There is no secret formula to achieving this level of corporate success. The company’s ongoing investment in R&D and the development of proprietary technologies are essential factors for winning new projects. With 14 years of experience in the development of PV energy and some 35 patents worldwide, Soltec designed its first solar tracker in 2007 and since then has continued to invest in technological innovation.

According to Raúl Morales, CEO of Soltec, “Developing a cutting-edge product is fundamental in the solar power sector and to achieve this, R&D becomes the lynch pin of any company looking for a niche in the renewable energy market”.

This year, a decade after the launch of its first solar tracker, this Spanish company has created SF7, the highest performing tracker on the market. Compared to its main rival, it is able to increase energy production, with up to 5% more output. Moreover, its design reduces the number of parts as well as installation time, thereby making its trackers the most cost-effective on the market.

Our product is the result of years of knowledge and experience in the PV sector. This has allowed us to understand our clients’ needs in addition to applying pioneering technologies to solar tracking”, comments José María Lozano, Head of Global Engineering at Soltec.

However, Soltec is not just an example of innovation in solar trackers, but tells the success story of a company that, following the crash of the PV sector in Spain, found a way to redirect its focus to become an international player. This means that today it is present in 12 countries and this year alone, has supplied its units to 15 projects, predominantly in Latin America and the USA. Soltec has thus positioned itself as the leading supplier in Brazil, Chile and Peru, continuing to gain market share in Mexico and the USA and expanding its market in other parts of the world, with new projects and subsidiaries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

Soltec’s sights are once again set on Spain, now that the domestic PV market has been reactivated. “With a production capacity of 2.5 GW per year that permits supplies of over 200 MW a month and over 500 employees around the world, Soltec is the perfect partner for the implementation of large solar power projects”, confirms Emilio Alfonso, Soltec’s Commercial Vice-President for the EMEA Region. “What makes us stand out from our main competitors in Spain is that over recent years, we have maintained a very high level of overseas business”.

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PV energy worldwide has once again set a new record for installed capacity in 2016, connecting 76.8 GW and representing a growth of 50% on the amount installed the previous year. The PV market has experienced an important change in recent years, going from being an essentially European market, motivated by environmental issues, to undertaking most projects in emerging markets where the motivation is price competitiveness and guaranteed supply.

Even though only 55 MW were installed in Spain last year, the sector has started to breathe winds of change. After five years of moratorium, the sector feels stronger and ready to change political risk for market risk. The lack of trust in government policies, the high competitive level achieved by the technology, the huge natural resource available in Spain, the liquidity existing in the financial markets and the possibility of obtaining additional revenue by taking part in auxiliary services are all reasons that encourage PV developers to test the possibility of going directly to the market.


However, this path is not without its obstacles. The first and most significant is the inadequacy of the marginal system of setting prices in the electricity markets. A system designed in the 1980s, based on costs variables, could not be more inappropriate for establishing the price of technologies that do not have such variables and that are enjoying an increasingly greater presence in the energy mix.
Read more…

José Donoso
Managing Director, UNEF, the Spanish Solar Association

Article published in: FuturENERGY July-August 2017

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The European project LIFE REWIND aims to facilitate the incorporation of renewable energy into agricultural activities, using the wine sector as a demo. REWIND stands for Renewable Energy in the Wine Industry. Its full name “Small scale, cost-effective renewable energy systems in the agro-food industry and rural areas: a demonstration project in the wine sector”, clearly explains its objective. As a tool to help meet the objectives of Europe’s environmental policy, its €1,562,994 budget is co-financed by the European Commission. LIFE REWIND is running for 37 months and is being implemented by a consortium comprising the University of Zaragoza, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and its LIFTEC laboratory, the wine producer Viñas de Vero S.A. and the engineering firm Intergia Energía Sostenible S.L.

To date, renewable energy for power generation has incorporated the electrical grid in the form of relatively large gensets, both in the case of wind power and that of PV. This replicates the same centralised layout that would be required when thermal plants, nuclear power stations or large hydraulic facilities are involved. Producing electricity in this way at the same point of consumption would be economically unviable, apart from dirty and dangerous. As a result, a complex and costly transmission and distribution network was required. However, this scenario changes where renewable generation is involved, especially when PV is concerned. The solar resource is near-ubiquitous and is uniformly distributed. PV generation can be constructed from less than 1 kW up to many MWs with hardly any economies of scale. Added to which, the centralised system is extremely expensive to construct and maintain with considerable energy losses occurring in transmission and distribution, the time has come to consider the possibility of in situ generation as an alternative.


Generation for self-consumption can take place in both a grid-connected and an off-grid installation. In the first instance, the possibility of ceding or absorbing power from the grid is a help, with no need for storage. Producing energy at the point of consumption avoids transmission losses and allows a reduction of downloads from the grid, which is good for the consumer and the system alike. In the case of off-grid self-consumption, the sizing and the management of the system are critical in order to avoid a very high cost or a high probability of failure in demand coverage. Read more..

Javier Carroquino Oñate
LIFE REWIND European project coordinator

Article published in: FuturENERGY January-February 2017

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According to GTM Research’s Latin America PV Playbook, Mexico now has the largest contracted PV project pipeline in all of Latin America. Latin America is expected to significantly increase its share of PV demand. The region as a whole is expected to take over 6% of global PV demand in 2017 on the basis of strong growth in several major markets such as Mexico and Chile. Several key markets on the rise include Argentina and Colombia, with regional giant, Brazil, capable of becoming a force once again through economic recovery.

Utility-scale solar leads all other segments of PV in across the region where solar is beating out prices for other technologies in auctions, and capturing much more of the market share for non-conventional renewables. In the second half of 2016, solar prices reached a low for not only Latin America, but briefly globally at $29/MWh during Chile’s August national supply auction. Distributed generation is on the rise, in some markets such as Mexico and Brazil, where net metering and other incentives are in place.


Investment in the sector is spurred through the introduction of tax reforms, partnerships with development banks and funds for renewable-specific projects. Due to low PV prices, however, financing for low rate of return projects is one of the most challenging endeavors for developers. Still, economic recovery and corresponding growth in power demand helps sustain regional renewable energy investment in 2017.

Causes for concern in several markets include currency depreciation (Mexico and Brazil) to ever-present political changes. Latin America electricity consumption per capita is still relatively low when compared with OECD countries. The IMF revised growth projections for Latin America and the Caribbean downwards to 1.2% in 2017, with weaker than expected GDP gains in the major markets of Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Argentina.

Argentina and Colombia are poised to cut into the Big Three’s share of LatAm PV demand

Argentina’s auction clears the way for almost 1 GW of PV to contract through the RenovAR program – a vehicle which establishes targets and ways for clean energy to flourish in the country out through 2025 – when the country has an 20% target for renewables generation. RenovAR Ronda (Round) 2 will be unveiled as soon as March to start the process for more projects to be added on beyond 2018.

Colombia is somewhat following the footsteps of several of its LatAm neighbors. Because Colombia only operates under private utilities, many PV projects are for self consumption only without proper incentives such as net metering. As of the most recent energy expansion roadmap, only 150 MW of solar was targeted by 2035, but that number should be surpassed by 2018 alone.

Mexico will spend 2017 getting started on the massive 4.2 GW pipeline issued in 2016. Projects are being signed, sited, and seeking financing but the continuing decline of the Peso is hurting confidence in whether project returns will be high.

Chile continues to be the leader of cumulative PV installed in Latin America. Chile will experience a down year in 2017. Projects wait to connect to an already congested grid, but Chile adds a few more > 50 MW projects to the grid.

Brazil may be largest economy in Latin America, but a recession and excess electricity supply clouds PV’s future development past already contracted projects.

2016 was the year of utility-scale auction surprises:

Both Mexico and Argentina’s auctions surprised and exceeded expectations in 2016, signaling the first stage for promising build out.

In Mexico’s case, there was doubt whether the proposed energy transition would pan out to the benefit of solar – especially for the utility scale. Before the first energy auction in March, there were many differing views as to whether PV would be able to compete with other energy sources like wind and natural gas. These reservations proved to be overblown as PV emerged as the overwhelming winner in both utility auctions totaling 4.2GW of capacity at prices as low as $33/MWh.

Argentina was an absolute wildcard factoring into the overall dynamics of regional PV. President Macri showed signs of reviving an aging and uncompetitive sector when he was elected in late 2015, but the swiftness of the changes to the sector were unexpected. In total, through 2 rounds of auctions, Argentina added close to 1 GW of utility scale PV. It was, however, the introduction to financing and renewable energy targets in 2016 which set solar up for success in the long term.

The largest economy in the region, Brazil, fell victim to several macroeconomic factors from political instability to drought. These factors decreased the overall electricity demand year over year by 0.7%, and was the main driver for the cancellation for both planned 2016 auctions for which solar was to be a part of. Almost 700 MW of tendered projects from 2014 remain in flux after a potential cancellation plan was scrapped.

2017 regional trends

Brazil was unableto catch a break in almost every facet of the market in 2016. Expect 2017 to be a rebound year for PV as the economy grows incrementally. It is also expected that ANEEL has factored in the regular ebb and flow of hydro capacity when planning future supply auctions. Expect especially the C&I segments add another 50-80MW.

The most recent CNE supply auction in Chile, actually turned out to be a gain for PV. Developers shrewdly worked around the block bidding structure to secure generation in the 24 hour slots using other technologies as a front for a portion of the project to be solar. Look for SIC-SING interconnection to spill progress into early to mid 2018.

Recent auctions in México marked the expiration of permits from the old scheme. Auctioned projects are now in the financing stage, one that will not an easy hurdle to clear given the low rates of return calculated on some projects. Installers have capitalized on the DAC tariff clients, but rates in O-M and H-M industrial classes are increasing too. Look for most of the 2017 DG installations to take place in this class.

Thawing of international relations has provided a spike in the interest of developing renewables in Cuba. The completion of a 50 MW utility plant and 100 MW auction will lead to more interest pouring into the country given its demand needs. Colombia can be pegged as the new Argentina, with a more stabilized government and need for cleaner and cheaper energy sources. Colombia, however, faces policy and incentive limitations.

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Grupo Clavijo has consolidated its international expansion with the completion of the Solar One Ceylon solar photovoltaic project for the company Windforce. The facility, with 12.56 MW ofpower, has 624 single-axis trackers from the SP 160 range, which have 315/320Wp polycrystalline modules manufactured by JA Solar. This solar farm is located in the town of Welikanda and was completed in five months.

Solar energy facilities in the south-eastof Asia reached a total power of almost 5 GW in 2016, and this is estimated to grow by an average of 50% per year in the region over the next five years. It is currently one of the most attractive areas for developing photovoltaic solar projects, along with countries like China and India.


This project has consolidated the internationalisation of the Spanish firm, which has now installed over 1.2 GW across the world, with over 600 MW in development in various countries. Its commitment to the most advanced tracking technology and its capacity to develop projects in any country in the world are behind the international growth of the company. Grupo Clavijo has its corporate headquarters in Viana (Navarre, Spain), production plants and offices in the USA, Brazil and Chile.

Source: Grupo Clavijo

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Last 26 January, in a meeting of the EU Member States trade experts, the European Commission’s proposal to extend trade measures on solar panels and cells imported from China, Taiwan and Malaysia was defeated. More than half the Member States of the EU voted against extending the measures and instead for the first time in history the proposal of the Commission is subject to an appeal from the Member States. This process, whilst never used before, is likely to put increased pressure on DG Trade to change their position.

Oliver Schaefer, President of SolarPower Europe stated ‘We have been campaigning for the end of these trade measures for the last 18 months, and are pleased that the Member States have sent a strong rebuke to DG Trade for not taking account of the interests of the European solar industry. We hope that the Commission will now review their proposal and through the appeal process substantially revise their approach.’


James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe, commented ‘We must thank all the European solar associations, who took part in achieving this historic result. This decision of the Member States reminds DG Trade that they must be more considerate of the solar jobs and investments that they have threatened across the EU with a proposal to extend these measures.’

Kristina Thoring, Political Communications Advisor added ‘We will now work with the Member States to find a suitable compromise to remove the measures as soon as possible, so that we can have a dynamic and growing solar sector in Europe once again.’

The European Commission must now consider what changes they need to make to their proposal before facing another vote by the Member States in a couple of weeks.

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Recyclia expects to mange almost 100 tonnes of waste photovoltaic modules in 2016, through the Ecoasimelec Foundation. This represents almost 100% of all waste PV modules generated. Recyclia has becomes the leader in this emerging market, following a cooperation agreement entered into in 2013 with PV Cycle, the association which manages photovoltaic module recycling throughout Europe and represents over 90% of the manufacturers and importers.

Indeed, the leading manufacturers of photovoltaic modules are in the process of becoming members of Recyclia and the foundation now has the necessary infrastructure in place for the collection and recycling of this equipment. It currently has treatment plants in Seville, Valencia, Bilbao and Barcelona, and these facilities are fitted with state-of-the-art equipment.

According to Recyclia and PV Cycle figures, Spain is currently third in Europe in terms of PV module management capacity. Between 2010 and 2015, Spain managed over a thousand tonnes of this waste (1,037), behind only Germany (7,740) and Italy(2,077). The total figure for Europe was 13,881 t.

By the end of 2016, the total worldwide stream of waste photovoltaic modules will exceed 43,000 t, just over 0.1% of the total number of modules installed. Spain will have a total of 100,000 t of photovoltaic modules installed by the end of 2016. These units have a service life of between 20 and 25 years. The country will generate a total of 100 t of waste PV modules according to a report published this year by the  International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

According to the International Energy Agency, Spain was the 8th country in the world in terms of solar PV capacity, with a total of 5.44 GW, 2.43% of the 222 GW installed worldwide. With this capacity, our country produces 3% of total national electricity output at an estimated total of 65,000 facilities.

Current legislation

Recycling of photovoltaic modules became compulsory in Spain with the ratification of Royal Decree 110/2015, which transposes the 2012 Directive on the correct management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

The legislation includes solar photovoltaic modules for the first time and makes producers and importers responsible for the organisation and funding of collection and recycling at the end of their service life, in line with the principle of Extended Producer Responsibility. The producer is responsible for the treatment of panels that are replaced by others, in accordance with what is known in the electronic recycling sector as the “one for one” rule.

As in the case of other WEEE categories, the Royal Decree sets out the obligation to collect 45% of the average weight of photovoltaic modules placed on the market in the preceding three years, as and from 2016.

According to José Pérez, CEO at Recyclia, “as is the case with other electronic equipment, responsible management of solar PV modules, apart from being obligatory, also generates important socioeconomic and environmental benefits. In this regard, Spain has the necessary infrastructure to undertake this recycling, which, allied to Recyclia’s logistics model, places us amongst the most advanced countries in the world in terms of efficiency and responsibility”.

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Grenergy has closed the financing of two solar plants PMGD (Small Distributed Generation Media) photovoltaic energy projects of 9 MWs in Chile, amounting to 17 million euro, as announced earlier today to the Spanish Mercado Alternativo Bursátil (MAB).

This is the first time a Chilean bank supports a renewable energy project with these characteristics, selling energy under the Stabilized Price Regime. The projects have been financed by Security and Consorcio, in an operation that consolidates Grenergy in Chile where it in 2012 and establishes Chile as a key pillar in the Company’s Latin American strategy.

With this funding, in the form of Project Finance, the company will complete the projects of “Esperanza” and “Marchigüe”, two solar plants with a capacity of 18 nominal MW in total, which will occupy an area equivalent to over 65 football fields. The projects are under construction and will be connected to Chile’s distribution network, the Central Interconnected System (SIC). Both plants are located in the commune of Marchigüe, in the region of Libertador O’Higgins, one of the most populated regions of the country and, therefore, one with large energy needs.

In the coming weeks, Grenergy will connect its second plant in the country, “FV Alturas de Ovalle”, to the SIC, with a capacity of 3 MW’s. Together with their first plant, also located in the Ovalle region, Grenergy will generate 14 MWh/year of energy, which will cover the electrical needs of 1.900 homes while also reducing 9.000 tons of CO<sub>2</sub> per year of greenhouse gases emissions.

Chile, a leading energy market

Electric demand in Chile is growing at an accelerated rate. The combination of strong electricity demand and the country’s rich natural resources, especially solar energy generation, has made of Chile a very important energy market. In fact, Chile is a leader in solar energy in Latin America. Grenergy is very well positioned in Chile, and also has offices in Mexico, Peru and Colombia.

In addition, the government is incentivising further the development of the renewable energy sector, with the goal that by 2050, 70% of the energy consumed in the country must be from renewable sources.

Source: Grenergy

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Aries Ingeniería y Sistemas has been chosen by the Armenia Renewable Resources and Energy Efficiency Fund (R2E2 Fund), public authority for renewable resources, as consultant for the preparation of the Utility-Scale Solar Project funded by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) for the promotion and growth of solar power in the Republic of Armenia.

The objective of this project is to assess the feasibility and technical viability of the construction of up to 6 solar PV power plants with a total capacity of 40-50MWp in locations with high solar irradiation potential as a Public Private Partnership between ARIES, R2E2 Fund, IBRD.

The Republic of Armenia has received a Grant from the Climate Investment Fund’s Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program in Low Income Countries (SREP) administered by the IBRD toward the cost of this project for the support and development of solar power in Armenia. Aries will be in charge of a Feasibility Study and Transaction Advisory Services for the preparation of the project; and to prepare the required bidding documents for selection of the project sponsors; conduct market sounding; support with evaluation of bids; negotiations and financial close.


Source: Aries Ingeniería y Sistemas

SAJ Electric