ANES: Mexico to put online 600 MW of solar PV in 2016

The National Association for Solar Energy (ANES) has taken stock of the notable growth in the Mexican solar sector, with new PV installations around 100 MW, and has presented its forecast for 2016, a year in which it expects around 600 MW of new solar PV.

ANES has expressed satisfaction with the approval of the Energy Transition Law last week, the final legislation in the nation’s energy reform initiated two years ago. This reform creates an electricity market which includes annual auctions for basic energy coverage, as well as a program for Clean Energy Certificates (CEL) from 2018 on.

“The rules of the electricity market have been defined, financial actors are appearing, with Clean Energy Certificates the mechanisms for incentives in the electricity market are going to take place and this configures the market for accelerated growth” of solar energy, explained ANES Director Carlos Flores in a press release.

100 MW of solar in 2015

Already in 2015 solar business Aztec Solar has grown 100% compared to 2014. As ANES highlights, one of the segments that had the most pull this year was distributed generation through net metering. In Mexico there is a program for installations up to 500 kilowatts (KW) that has experienced sustained growth in the last few years.

The new PV installations under net metering total around 50 MW. Of those 20 megawatts (MW) correspond to mid-sized commercial and around 30 MW are installed in the residential sector. This latter segment added 8,000-10,000 PV systems. “The residential market has doubled compared to 2014,” states Carlos Flores of ANES.

“This is encouraging because the growth is accelerating, but this barely represents 0.6% of all residential electricity users in this country,” he added. ANES highlights that the potential is large and already for many users it is especially attractive to install a PV system. Specifically, the association highlights 450,000 domestic users under high consumption rates, around 3 million commercial users and 250,000 industrial installations.

Regarding solar parks with a capacity more than 500 KW built this year, new installations total 39-49 MW. This is an estimate of the association as some solar parks are already under construction. Among the plants that were built in this segment include a PV plant around 1 MW in Sonora which was supplied with modules by JinkoSolar, and also a new phase of the Tai Solar Park in Durango, an extension which includes modules from the same producer.

In off-grid solar installations, ANES estimates 4 MW in the last year. Of those, 1 MW were installed in lights and 3 MW correspond to installations for electricity supply and water pumping.

More than 1 GW of capacity in module production

ANES indicates tha the capacity of module production currently stands at 1 GW in Mexico. With this, the nation is the leading producer in Latin America. Among these producers are the multinational corporations Kyocera and Sunpower but also Mexican producers like ERDM.

“The capacity for production of PV modules in Mexico from both national industries and the companies which are established to produce for the U.S. market is right now greater than 1 GW, far exceeding demand,” explains Carlos Flores.

Investment of $900 million in 2016

For the next year, the association expects a 600 MW PV market which assumes US$900 million in investment. In 2016, it is expected that the segment with the majority of growth will be solar parks, which “ought to grow up to ten-fold,” states Flores.

In 2018 the Clean Energy Certificates program will take effect. The first auction for projects under this program and for providing electricity to basic service providers was recently launched and will be completed at the end of March.

The prospects for solar in Mexico look good in coming years. “We estimate in this period, 2016 and 2017, Mexico will return to lead solar installations in Latin America,” declared Carlos Flores.

Translation by Christian Roselund. For the original article in Spanish, see the pv magazine LatinoAmérica website.