GTM Research: Latin America to install 2.2 GW of solar PV this year

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Latin America’s solar market are set to continue their path of impressive growth and install a total of 2.2 GW of solar PV this year, according to the latest report by GTM Research. According to the Q2 2016 Latin America PV Playbook, this will be a 55% increase over the 1.4 GW installed last year.

GTM Research expects Chile to remain the largest market in the region in 2016 with 660 MW installed, which will bring the nation to a cumulative total of over 2 GW. However the company forecasts that Mexico will install nearly this much at around 640 MW. This will represent meteoric growth for Mexico, which currently has less than 200 MW installed.

Projections for growth this year are based on several large "grandfathered" projects moving forward, now that there is more certainty following conclusion of the nation’s energy reform. Looking forward to 2017, GTM Research expects a decline in the Chilean market but for Mexico to install a massive 2 GW, which would allow Mexico could host the region’s largest volume of installed PV by 2018.

GTM Research also expects 2016 to be a breakout year for Brazil, with around 300 MW installed. Over the last six months several PV projects larger than 200 MW have begun construction in the nation, by far the largest projects to do so to date.

In Chile, Brazil and Mexico large volumes of solar PV have been awarded through auction processes, with solar in many cases beating out other technologies. GTM Research estimates that solar won 20% of the recent capacity offered in Chile, 63% in Brazil and 72% in Mexico.

Mexico has also seen very low prices for solar in recent auctions, awarding a global record low price contract at US$35 per megawatt-hour to Italy’s Enel Green Power. However, there are concerns about how quickly much of the capacity awarded across the region will get built, and how many projects will meet deadlines in 2016 and 2017.

This is particularly a concern in Brazil, which has awarded several GW of solar projects in auctions but is suffering from political and economic instability including the recent suspension of President Dilma Rousseff. However, there are concerns across the region.?

“Projects are struggling to construct because of a lack of affordable financing,” states GTM Research Senior Solar Analyst Mohit Anand, the lead author of the report. “An economic downturn coupled with significant political risk has made it impossible to access debt globally.”

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