Markets

Thesan eyes Argentina as renewables take hold


07 April 2017 by Adam Critchley

Already present in half a dozen Latin American countries, Italian solar developer Thesan sees Argentina as a new frontier as the country becomes more attractive thanks to the RenovAr program and two successful electric power tenders.


Solar Panels

 

Founded in 2008, Thesan develops solar solutions and is involved at all stages of the supply and production chain, from design and construction to development and management. The company seeks to employ new and innovative ways of generating energy that are environmentally friendly and accessible, and works as a fully integrated pioneer in the sector, offering the latest technology and innovative solutions in the development, construction and financing of solar PV projects.

The company is active in Latin America, having recently completed a 9.26 megawatt project in Panama and another project in Ollague, Chile. It is also developing a rooftop project in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In addition to having offices in those nations, Furthermore, Thesan is present in Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and the US.

“Each market has its own specifications, and operations depend on the strategy for each country, while some countries are made more attractive by laws favouring the growth of renewable energy, such as Brazil, Panama and Colombia,” Coralie Carrier-Clérambault, head of development at Thesan USA, told SolarPlaza from Panama City.

Adding to Argentina’s appeal is the government’s recent push for renewables through its RenovAr program, which has so far resulted in successful Round 1 and Round 1.5 tenders, awarding contracts for projects totalling some 2.4 gigawatts, 925 megawatts of which were for solar. The two tenders are expected to usher in $4 billion in investment.

The country’s brightest provinces for solar power are Salta and Jujuy, in the northwest.

Argentina has a commitment to renewable energy, and huge natural resources, as well as established electricity infrastructure, and there are now benefits awarded to firms investing in the country, afforded by new laws, Carrier-Clérambault says.

“The actions taken in 2016 show that renewables are now established in the country, and as a market it will become more attractive as demand increases.”

She says there is also a prevailing perception that the country is at last entering a period of economic recovery.

“There is also a real willingness to respond to the increase in energy demand and to achieve energy independence.”

When entering a new market, Thesan seeks local partners, which can provide local knowledge and logistics experience, as well as financing options with local institutions, and Argentina is not the exception, she says.

The company is eyeing large-scale distributed generation projects, which have been given a boost by the RenovAr program. However, there are still some obstacles to be overcome, she adds, such as inflation levels, which remain high, access to finance, and import costs.