Alten and Cubico begin work on 350 MW solar park in central Mexico

Spanish-headquartered independent power producer (IPP) Alten Energías Renovables (Alten Renewable Energy) has started construction on the 350 MW Cubico Alten Aguascalientes Solar PV plant in El Llano municipality, in the Mexican state of Aguascalientes.

According to a press release from the regional government, work on the facility is expected to be finalized within 14 months. Overall, Alten will use around 1,050,000 solar modules for the project, which will be spread across a surface of around 1,000 hectares.

Alten’s CEO Carlos Castellanos Beraza said that the project will be located in a region with as much as solar radiation of the state of Sonora, but with temperature lower by 8° degrees, a factor that will provide better conditions for the facility’s performance.

British renewable energy infrastructure company Cubico Sustainable Investments, which is the project’s largest shareholder, reached financial close for the $230 million project in August. Financing for the project was provided by the Inter-American Investment Corporation, acting on behalf of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, together with the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in the Americas and the China Co-Financing Fund for Latin America & the Caribbean, the International Finance Corporation, Bancomext, Banobras and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG).

The solar park consists of two solar plants, named Solem I and Solem II respectively, two electrical substations, and a 6.6 km 230 kV power transmission line connecting both substations to the Mexican utility Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE). Total project costs amount to around $368.0 million.

The project, which was selected in the energy auction held by the Mexican government in September 2016, was awarded a 20-year PPA by the Mexican Federal Electricity Agency, Centro Nacional de Control de Energia (CENACE) for the Clean Energy Certificates (CELs) and 15-year PPA for energy and capacity. The Solem I plant is expected to start delivering power at the end of September 2018, while the Solem II facility is planned to become operational at the end of June 2019.