Solar power in Mexico

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Concentrated solar power prospects for southwest United States and northern Mexico

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]


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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