Uruguay’s installed PV capacity tops 88.4 MW

Uruguay reached a cumulative installed PV capacity of 88.4 MW as of the end of December 2016, according to the latest statistics (Balance Energético Preliminar 2016) published by the country’s Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining.

At the end of the previous year, the cumulative solar capacity was 64.4 MW, of which 58 MW was installed in 2015 alone. This means that new capacity for 2016 was approximately 24 MW.

Total installed PV power represented 2% of the country’s power generation capacity at the end of last year, which stood at 3,912 MW. At the end of 2015, the share of solar was 1.6%.

Overall, all the PV systems installed in the country generated 37.8 GWh of power last year, thus covering around 1% of total demand.

According to a report released at the beginning of 2016 from local state-owned utility UTE, the newly installed PV capacity for last year should have reached 167 MW.

Uruguay launched a 200 MW program for large-scale solar four years ago. To date, however, only a portion of this capacity has been connected to the country’s grid. The program allowed the purchase of 200 MW at a maximum price of US$91.50 per megawatt hour for plants of between five and 50 MW.

The largest PV installation installed under the scheme is the 64 MW La Jacinta PV plant. The facility, which is located in the Salto Department, in the interior of the nation, was built by Spanish developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) in 2015.

Furthermore, the Uruguayan government is supporting residential and commercial solar through a net metering scheme, thanks to which a few megawatts of PV capacity were installed in the country over the past years.