Solar power in Mexico

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Solar potential

Solar power in Mexico has the potential to produce vast amounts of energy. 70% of the country has an insolation of greater than 4.5 kWh/m²/day. Using 15% efficient photovoltaics, a square 25 km (16 mi) on each side in the state of Chihuahua or the Sonoran Desert (0.01% of Mexico) could supply all of Mexico's electricity.[1]


Concentrated solar power prospects for southwest United States and northern Mexico

Mexico already leads Latin America in solar energy production. Historically, the main applications of solar energy technologies in Mexico have been for non-electric active solar system applications for space heating, water heating and drying crops. As in most countries, wind power development preceded solar power initially, due to the lower installation cost.[2] Since solar power is not available during the night, and because wind power tends to be complementary to solar, a mix of both can be expected. Both require substantial storage to compensate for days with no wind and no sun. Batteries provide short term storage,[3] and pumped hydroelectricity provides longer term storage.[4]


A 46.8 MW photovoltaic project is under construction in Puerto Libertad, Sonora.[5] Originally planned to be 39 MW, the size was increased to allow generation of 106,728,000 kWh/year.[6]

A solar trough based 14 MW plant will use a combined cycle gas turbine of 478 MW[7] to provide electricity to the city of Agua Prieta, Sonora. The World Bank has financed this project with US$50 million.[8] A 450 MW concentrated photovoltaics plant is planned for Baja California.[9]

A 2012 law requires 35% of electricity from renewable resources by 2024 and carbon emission reductions of 50% below 2000 levels by 2050.[10][11][12] Combined with declining solar installation costs, it's estimated that the 2012 climate law will lead to 6 GW of solar capacity in Mexico by 2020.[13]

At the Solar Power Mexico conference, it was said that PV electricity and solar thermal will comprise up to 5% of Mexico's energy by 2030 and up to 10% by 2050.[14]


Installed PV capacity (in MW)[16][17][18]
2001 15 1
2002 16 1
2003 17 1
2004 18 1
2005 19 1
2006 20 1
2007 21 1
2008 22 1
2009 25 3
2010 30 5
2011 37 7
2012 52 15
2013 112 60

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