Panama added 46 MW of new large-scale PV capacity in 2016, according to local regulator Autoridad de los Servicios Públicos (ASEP). Seven ground-mount PV plants ranging in size from 500 kW to 10 MW were connected to the local grid, thus bringing the country’s cumulative PV capacity to 89 MW.
According to ASEP’s figures, PV represented 2.87% of the country’s power generation capacity at the end of 2016. ASEP reports that operational PV installations were also able to cover 0.67% of the country’s electricity demand last year.
Moreover, ASEP revealed that it has granted final approval to 20 PV projects totaling approximately 300 MW, and provisional approval to 36 solar projects with a combined capacity of 430 MW to date.
There are several different models for large-scale PV development in Panama. Some PV plants sell power to the local grid at market prices, as with the project Divisa Solar developed by UK company Solarcentury, others are entitled to receive a special tariff through an auction mechanism.
Last year, Panama’s government held an auction which was won by a solar project submitted by Italian developer Enel Green Power.
Panama also has a net-metering scheme for PV systems installed for self-consumption. ASEP has previously reported that 109 installations totaling 7 MW were installed in the country under that scheme at the end of March 2016.