Emerging solar market briefs: Brazil, Mexico and Antigua

Brazil launches first stage of 10-MWp floating PV demo, Mexico’s CFE to switch on 14-MW CSP unit in April and Meeco venture inaugurates 3-MWp solar system in Antigua


Brazil launches first stage of 10-MWp floating PV demo

A floating solar power plant began operating last week at Brazil’s Balbina hydropower plant (HPP) … one of two systems in a research and development (R&D) project targeting up to 10 MWp.

The government will switch on one more plant, at Sobradinho HPP, on March 11. The floating photovoltaic (PV) arrays are planned to deliver 1 MWp each at the first stage of the project.

If the systems are proven successful, the government will add another 4 MWp per site by October 2017.

Brazilian power utilities Eletronorte and Chesf will invest BRL 100 million (USD 26.8m/EUR 24.5m) in total in the R&D project. Balbina and Sobradinho were chosen due to their location in areas with different climatic conditions.

Similar research projects have been undertaken in other countries, but not at HPP’s, noted the government.

Mexico’s CFE to switch on 14-MW CSP unit in April

Mexican federal energy commission CFE said that it will officially put into operation, a 14 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) capacity in the northeastern parts of Sonora state in April.

The solar farm, equipped with parabolic mirrors, is part of the 394.1-MW hybrid power complex Agua Prieta II, which also includes a natural gas-powered combined-cycle generation unit. The World Bank provided financing for the solar thermal portion of the USD-426-million (EUR 392.1m) hybrid scheme.

The plant was constructed by Sener Ingenieria y Sistemas SA, Elecnor SA and Proyectos Electricos Agua Prieta SAPI de CV.

This is a first-of-a-kind power generation facility in Latin America, the Mexican state utility noted. The combined-cycle unit alone is expected to generate enough electricity to offset more than 208,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission each year, according to the press release.

Meeco venture inaugurates 3-MWp solar system in Antigua

The government of Antigua and Barbuda, in partnership with a UK-based clean energy firm formed by Swiss energy group Meeco AG and B&S Property (UK) officially marked the completion of a 3-MWp solar-plus-storage system in the Caribbean country last week.

PV Energy Ltd, the entity in charge of the scheme, constructed the plant at the VC Bird International Airport. The facility consists of over 12,000 ground-mounted polycrystalline photovoltaic (PV) panels combined with Meeco’s energy management and storage system, called sun2safe.

The will be able to generate 4.645 MWh of electricity per year, according to a press statement. Its output will offset about 3,020 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually.

The solar park is part of an agreement between PV Energy and the government of the twin-island country that calls for the addition of 10 MWp of solar power capacity in total. The firm will also install 4 MWp of PV capacity in the Bethesda area on Antigua and a 1-MWp solar system on Barbuda along with 2 MWp of sun2roof installations on over 50 schools and public buildings.

“This important initiative in the energy sector, utilizing state-of-the-art technologies, will allow us to develop our indigenous energy resources and contribute towards our goal of reducing our carbon footprint,” Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Corporate Governance, Gaston Browne, noted.

Ultimately, Antigua and Barbuda aim to source 20% of its electricity from renewables.

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