Mexican solar module manufacturer Solarever has switched on the production lines of its manufacturing facility in Tecomán, in the state of Colima.
It has already been a complicated year in terms of private investments in Mexico’s energy sector. And for solar, a lack of policy certainty and a government supportive of the fossil fuels industry are serving to further muddy the waters for projects already in development, while putting the brakes on any new plans.
With the government having already introduced measures which will reduce the volume of renewables in the national energy mix, further new provisions will restrict the deployment of energy storage and the ability of solar energy generators to sell excess power to nearby consumers.
The Comisión Federal de Electricidad will invest around $342 million into two PV plants with a total generation capacity of 350 MW at its geothermal facility in Baja California. President Obrador, meanwhile, has described the previous regime’s Energy Reform program as a ‘pillage policy.’
Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) is seeking approval to develop 350 MW of solar in the state of Baja California. The arrays will be built on the same site as the 820 MW Cerro Prieto geothermal project. However, it remains unclear whether the PV installations mark the company’s formal entry into the solar business.
The new measure mainly applies to wind power and other renewable energy sources, as most of the country’s solar capacity was deployed after 2014, when the energy reforms were implemented.
Twenty-three renewable-energy operators have resumed testing of their installations, just a few weeks after the Mexican government halted grid connections for new solar and wind power projects, pending further notice. Mexicio’s National Energy Control Center (Cenace) has faced a series of “amparo” lawsuits since the government introduced the new measures against renewables.
The move has been brought in by the National Energy Control Center which claims it is necessary to safeguard energy security during the Covid-19 public health crisis. Critics say the authorities are using the pandemic as an excuse to extend a pattern of action against the renewables industry.
The Mexican electric power industry is maintaining its dynamism, despite a collective perception of inactivity stemming from a lack of information from the federal government. And renewables are barely mentioned in the National Development Plan for 2019–2024 drawn up by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Although it is unclear how much generation capacity will be contracted, several projects submitted for the subsequently cancelled fourth government renewables auction may participate in Thursday’s procurement. ‘Qualified users’ – energy consumers needing more than 1 MW of power and without access to regulated power supply from national utility CFE – are expected to be among the buyers at the exercise.
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