Colombia plans initiative for solar to benefit milk producers

Anatolio Santos, Atlántico Department’s Secretary of Economic Development, brought up the initiative at a government meeting.

The aim of the proposed initiative is to boost the region’s milk sector, to make it more competitive through lower costs. Currently, farmers pay up to COP 1,500,000 ($500) per tank, per month in electricity bills for milk cooling facilities.

Santos is now seeking support for the scheme from Colombia’s Ministry of Agriculture. Local dairy producers have reacted positively to the suggestions: “This idea was born because of the high costs we are paying in electricity,” said Robinson Yance, of the Association of Agricultural Producers of Atlántico. “It is very important to target alternative energy that is environmentally friendly.”

Colombia has recently begun to turn toward solar and wind in order to diversify its energy mix. Currently the country relies on big hydro for around 70% of its electricity. Earlier in 2017, new legislation was published by the Ministry of Mines and Energy to regulate self-consumption for PV systems up to 100 kW.

Colombia’s first utility scale PV power plant, a 10 MW installation located in the Valle del Cauca region, is currently under construction and expected to come online in the third quarter of 2017.