Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Solar Energy News .

Solar Capacity in Central America to Surge
by Staff Writers
Barcelona, Spain (SPX) Sep 15, 2014

A solar milestone arrived this year in Central America when El Salvador awarded 94 megawatts (MW) of PV in a tender that originally targeted a much smaller level amounting to 60 MW of PV together with an additional 40 MW of wind as part of the original mix. Other countries where policy makers have pushed for more large-scale PV projects include Guatemala and Honduras.

Set to install an impressive 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of photovoltaic (PV) capacity within a six-year period through 2018, Central America is attracting attention from PV developers from around the world, according to a new report from IHS Technology.

This year, total PV capacity for the six countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama is forecast to reach 22 megawatts (MW), up from 6 MW last year.

A gigantic leap is then expected to take place in 2015 when PV capacity bounds up to 243 MW, as shown in the attached figure. But it is in the following three years when the solar market will make its greatest strides in the region, with aggregate PV capacity from 2016-18 accounting for a massive 81 percent of the six-year projected total.

IHS expects that total installations in the region will amount to 1.5 GW for the period from 2012 through 2018.

Overall, the region's current PV pipeline of planned utility-scale projects amounts to 1.3 GW, of which half of the projects have signed power purchase agreements (PPA) on the back of enhanced policy support for solar renewable energy. The pipeline is expected to grow now that a couple of tenders have ignited the market, and developers are testing the waters to access new project opportunities.

To be sure, the region already has a high share of renewable power generation. However, PV deployment is still minimal at present.

"About 70 percent of the electricity generated in Central America already comes from renewable sources, mainly hydro," said Josefin Berg, senior analyst for solar demand at IHS.

"Yet over the past few years, increasing power demand has been met with new thermal generation thanks to power generated from oil, coal and gas, increasing reliance on fossil fuel imports. To counteract this and to avoid future volatility in electricity pricing, governments have begun supporting the controlled deployment of renewables."

A solar milestone arrived this year in Central America when El Salvador awarded 94 megawatts (MW) of PV in a tender that originally targeted a much smaller level amounting to 60 MW of PV together with an additional 40 MW of wind as part of the original mix. Other countries where policy makers have pushed for more large-scale PV projects include Guatemala and Honduras.

The long-term deployment of PV and other power-generation sources hinges on the rollout of the Sistema de Interconexion Electrica de los Paises de America Central (SIEPAC), a project tasked with interconnecting the power grids of the six Central American nations.

Over the past year, the electricity grids in the region have been linked via the 1,800-kilometer (1,118-mile)-long SIEPAC transmission line project, which will also enhance the grid's ability to absorb more renewables. Just the same, PV policy and demand growth will continue to vary among countries in Central America, as the region's markets differ greatly in power market structure and regulation.

These findings are available in the latest edition of the "Emerging PV Markets Tracker" report, from the Power and Energy service of IHS Technology.

Price competition favors large utility-scale PV projects
Via tenders, regulators in El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama are looking to blend in affordable renewable power in the electricity mix.

The bid prices for the three projects awarded in El Salvador ranged from $102 per megawatt-hour (MWh) to $123 per MWh. In the quest for winning bid prices, developers are targeting projects sized above 10 MW, leaving the awarded capacity in the hands of a few companies. All told, three companies shared the awarded 94 MW in El Salvador.

An equal number of companies-three- took home the 85 MW awarded in Guatemala. For its part, Panama is still finalizing details for the upcoming October tender, but the average size of more than 20 licensed projects is 24 MW, pointing to another tender with a handful of winners. Honduras, meanwhile, has opened up for more developers by allowing as much as 600 MW of projects to sign PPAs.

The need for electricity opens up for small, distributed generation
The region is focusing not only on large projects but also on projects with less ambitious scopes. In areas with frequent electricity blackouts and where backup power comes from costly diesel generation, PV is slowly gaining traction as an alternative source of power. In countries like Costa Rica and Honduras, net-metering schemes are being rolled out, which could propel the small-scale PV segment.

"We see an increasing interest in PV from hotel owners and local commerce," Berg added. "A reliable and affordable electricity supply just means better business."


Related Links
All About Solar Energy at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Cree SiC MOSFETs Help Power Japan's Growing Solar Energy Infrastructure
Durham NC (SPX) Sep 15, 2014
Cree has announced that its C2M, 1200V, 80mOhm SiC MOSFETs have been selected by Sanix Corporation, Japan, to be designed into their new 9.9kW three-phase solar inverters for use in the construction of commercial photovoltaic systems in the fast-growing Japanese solar energy market. "Through this partnership with Cree and their SiC technology, Sanix is able to capture more market share in ... read more

3D imaging may improve understanding of biofuel plant materials

Ethanol fireplaces: the underestimated risk

ACCESS II Confirms Jet Biofuel Burns Cleaner

Scientists create renewable fossil fuel alternative using bacteria

Cutting the cord on soft robots

iRobot supplying its PackBots to Canada

Watch MIT's Atlas robot carry heavy objects

DARPA issues RFI for robotic space services for satellites

Wind Turbines Outperforming Expectations at Honda Transmission Plant

Stealth wind turbines to become operational in France in 2015

EU calls for study of 2020 renewable energy targets

Go green and prosper, British government says

Electric supercar race ends in a serious crash

China fines Volkswagen affiliate $40.5 mn for price-fixing

Toshiba Provides Rapid Recharge SCiBT Batteries for Proterra Bus Fleet

Moscow Plans to Install 150 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Scottish scientists make 'tremendously important' breakthrough in water to hydrogen production proce

Plugged-in to the future

First-ever look inside a working lithium-ion battery

Clean coal key to combating climate change: Rio Tinto

Japan newspaper apologises for false Fukushima report

Westinghouse Signs Agreements with China's SNPAS

Japan nuclear watchdog backs restart of two reactors

Japan's first female industry chief visits Fukushima plant

IRENA: Outdated thinking curbing green energy momentum

Zimbabwe launches $500-mln power units to ease energy woes

Existing power plants will spew 300 billion more tons of carbon dioxide during use

Yale Journal Explores Advances In Sustainable Manufacturing

Climate change could 'fundamentally alter' US forests

Amazon deforestation up 29 pc in 2013 -- Brazil

New NASA Probe Will Study Earth's Forests in 3-D

Brazil cracks 'biggest' Amazon deforestation gang

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.