Construction begins on 9.9 MW merchant solar park in Panama

Solar company Ecosolar has announced that construction has begun on a 9.9 MW merchant solar park in the Panamanian province of Coclé. The project, owned by Ecosolar, is being built by British company Solarcentury.

The project has obtained a US $11.9 million loan from Inter-American Investment Coporation (IIC), which is a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). Total cost of the project is of US $17.8 million, according to a press release issued by IIC. The loan was provided to Divisa Solar 10MW S.A., a company that was created by Ecosolar for this project.

Ecosolar’s Chief Executive Officer Alberto Rabanal has stated that the whole electricity produced by the solar park will be sold in the spot market. Electricity prices are high in Panama. In 2013, the average spot market price was $212.3/MWh, according to a report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Eclac).

Currently, the largest solar park in Panama is a 2.4 MW installation located in Sarigua. Solar projects under PPAs and in the frame of solar auctions are currently planned in the country. Panama’s inaugural solar auction was held recently under which five projects were awarded.

Panama’s energy mix is covered by nearly 60% hydropower and the remainder consisting mainly of fossil fuels. As part of its effort to diversify its energy mix, Panama’s government passed a Solar Energy Law in 2013 that contemplates different kind of incentives for solar projects as well as specific auctions for solar parks.