El Salvador to launch solar auction in December or January

El Salvador will hold an auction for large-scale renewable energy projects between December 2017 and January 2018.

The announcement of the new auction was given on the CNE’s twitter account by Luis Reyes, the executive secretary of the country’s energy regulator Consejo Nacional de Energía (CNE), on the occasion of the presentation of the regulator’s 2017 accountability report. Reyes has not provided more details about the new auction in his announcement.

Local newspaper El Mundo, however, has revealed that the auction will be open to solar and biogas projects and that it will be launched at an unspecified date between December and January.  “I can not give the exact data, but we are considering at least two technologies: photovoltaic and biogas, because they are the same technologies for which there is now availability of developers, ” Reyes said, according to El Mundo.

In January of this year the CNE held an auction for 119 MW (DC) of solar energy and 70 MW of wind. In the tender, four solar projects were awarded. Two of these projects have each a capacity of 50 MW and are selling power at a price of $49.55/MWh and $49.65/MWh, respectively. Furthermore, the CNE had selected a 10 MW project selling power at $67.24/MWh and a 9.9 MW facility offering a price of $54.98/MWh.

At an earlier auction held in 2014, 96 MW in photovoltaic plants were awarded. Of this power, about 75 MW comes from the 101 MW Solar Providencia project, located in the department of La Paz, 40 kilometers from the capital San Salvador, which began operating on April 1, 2017.

Meanwhile, El Salvador’s watchdog Siget announced that that the tariff of electricity will be reduced by another 4.4% in the quarter from October 15 to January 15, after it was reduced by 3.09% in the quarter from July 15 to October 15.

Siget explained that the price drop was mainly due to a series of factors such as an increase of power production from hydro sources, the connection to the grid of a 60 MW solar power plant in April, and a slight decrease in the international price for bunker fuel, which is used in the country for thermal power generation.

The solar plant mentioned by the regulator is the second phase of the above-mentioned Providencia Solar PV plant built and operated by French independent power producer Neoen.