Uruguay launches 65 MW solar tender

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Uruguayan power utility the National Administration of Electric Power Plants and Transmissions (UTE) has launched a tender for a 65 MW solar park.

The UTE said it plans to procure 65 MW of solar modules in the first quarter of the new year. The tender includes construction, operation and maintenance of the plant, the Uruguayan government said in a statement. The project work will amount to preparing studies, engineering development and the supply, installation, testing and commissioning of the plant. The tender does not call for construction of the 150 kV substation required or the supply of PV panels, the government added.

Companies interested in participating must submit bids by October 25.

The Uruguayan solar industry has been in the doldrums since the establishment of solar parks under a 200 MW capacity development program that was launched by the government in 2013.

The story so far

Two of those facilities were developed by Spanish company Solaria Energía y Medio Ambiente: the 9.5 MW generation capacity Natelu plant S.A. and the same-sized Yarnel plant. A further 75 MW was added through the El Naranjal and Del Litoral plants in the department of Salto, in northern Uruguay, which are owned by Atlas Renewable Energy, a unit of British private investment firm Actis. The government program also drove construction of the 65 MW La Jacinta solar plant, which Invenergy acquired from Spain’s Fotowatio in March 2017 and which has been in operation since October 2015.

In an exclusive interview with pv magazine, Uruguayan Minister of Energy Guillermo Moncecchi spoke about the future of solar energy in the country and recognized the potential of PV thanks to the steep fall in prices the technology has witnessed in recent years. At the time, the minister said new solar auctions would be held next year.

Uruguay, which supports rooftop PV through net metering, already sources almost 98% of its electricity from renewables. According to the latest statistics published by the International Renewable Energy Agency, the nation had an installed PV generation capacity of around 248 MW at the end of last year.