By: Carolina Lisanna

When thinking of clean energy, Mexico may not be the first country that comes to mind. However, Mexico
is planning to generate 35% of its energy from clean sources by 2026. The aim is to diversify Mexico´s
energy sources as well as to curb emissions. In a sunny country like Mexico, solar power intuitively
makes a lot of sense. The average of solar radiation is around 60% higher than Germany, which is one of
the top markets in the world. Currently, less than 15% of the country`s power comes from clean sources
(mostly hydro) where solar and wind power combined currently provide less than 2% of Mexico’s energy
supply. One of the reasons for the small percentage is that solar/wind developers find it challenging to get
deals with regulators, banks and electricity purchasers unfamiliar with the growing industries.
Oil is still a main player in Mexico (ca. one third of country´s energy supply), but the whole industry is now
changing. President Enrique Peña Nieto suggests tax collection and a carbon levy on fossil fuels to
diminish dependency on oil income.
The Energy Ministry published an energy report “Prospectiva de Energías Renovables 2012-2026”
outlining their latest energy policy. This white paper promotes the use of renewable energy as well as
raises awareness of the energy potential of the country´s natural resources. It is also makes
recommendations for investments in renewable projects and technologies. The report forecasts solar
capacity of 2,170 megawatts by the end of this decade. According to Comisión Reguladora de
Energía (Energy Regulatory Commission), national and international companies have acquired initial
permits for 215 MW of solar plants, which is enough to power more than 40,000 homes in Mexico.

Direct Normal Solar Radiation – annual (source:

First Solar Inc has started its first projects in Mexico while many other developers like Spain´s Grupotec
Technologia Solar SL andSaferay GmbH from Germany own licenses in the country too.
On September, Gauss Energía and local investor and Martifer SGPS SA from Portugal, opened a 30MW
plant in Baja California, which makes it the largest solar park in Latin America. The region is one the most
suitable for solar energy generation because its daily global horizontal radiation tops 5,7 kWh per m2 (see
map above). The project of 100 million USD has the capacity to supply the consumption of electricity of
164,000 inhabitants. The park itself has 132,000 panels installed and covers an area of 100 hectares.
The complex called Aura Solar I will cut carbon emissions by 60,000 tons a year.
President and general director of Gauss Energía, Hector Olea, says “Aura Solar represents an important
platform to develop solar parks in Mexico, since so far the exploitation of this energy has been limited to
small pilot projects.”
Because of the sustainable profile of the project, Nacional Financiera (Mexico´s development bank) and
International Finance Corporation are funding 75% of capital costs. The energy produced by the park will
be sold exclusively to Mexico´s federal power company CFE. The contract is based on Small Electricity
Producers` scheme, under which CFE buys power from solar projects of as much as 30 MW. The utility
offers deals fixed at 98% of its average cost of generating power in the area over the previous year.
Aura Sola is a cornerstone for the future of the solar industry and for the reduction of CO2 emissions in
the country. The project provides future basis to develop more of these kinds of projects in high solar
radiation areas. Even if the Mexican market is not yet as developed as those of the EU or US, the future
of solar in Mexico is slated to be bright.

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