Colombia to launch auction for large-scale solar and renewables

Colombia’s Minister of Mines and Energy Germán Arce Zapata announced that the country’s first auction for large-scale solar, wind and biomass projects will be launched before the next presidential elections, that will be held on 27 May 2018.

The announcement was given by Arce Zapata on the occasion of a conference on the Colombian energy market, which took place in Cartagena, Colombia, on Nov. 3, as reported by the Ministry of Mines and Energy in a press release. More details about the auction and the bidding rules, however, were not revealed.

PV projects registered in Colombia have increased significantly over the past years. As of December 2016, 160 solar projects with total capacity of 1.2 GW were registered. All of these projects may eventually compete in this and future auctions.

The country has currently only one operational PV power plant, the 9.9 MW Celsia Solar Yumbo project built by local energy company Celsia. The plant is part of the company’s plan to deploy 250 MW of PV capacity in Colombia and Central America, with further projects planned in Valle del Cauca, and in Bolívar and Santander provinces, as well as in Panama. Among these projects, there is also an 80 MW solar facility planned for the municipality of Los Santos, in the department of Santander, which is located in the central northern part of the country.

Colombia is currently turning to solar and renewables in order to diversify its electricity mix, which is largely dependent on hydropower. In March, the government published the Decreto 348 del 1 de marzo de 2017, a new legislation to support the installation of small and medium-sized renewable energy and solar power generators across the country.