Author: Stefano Cruccu, Solarplaza
The Latin American region is seen by many as a 'natural market' for solar PV. Until now however, the real boom still has to come. Chile so far leads the way with an installed solar capacity of roughly 1.5GW (source). Thich is very small compared to a market like the US (roughly 20GW installed), but enough to start learning lessons on how to deal with operational PV assets.
One of the main lessons already learned in 'more mature' regions is that once installed capacity starts to accumulate, paying attention to operational challenges becomes critical. To get a better impression of the current installed capacity in the region, we have put together a 'Top 20 operational PV plants in Latam', which you can gain access to below..
Chile is most represented in the overview, with ten listings from a total of twenty, followed by Honduras and Uruguay, who have made resp. six and two contributions to the overview. The remaining two plants are situated in Guatemala and Mexico.
In terms of total capacity (in the overview) Chile leads as well with 736MW worth of plants, again followed by Honduras (348MW), with the rest of the countries trailing a bit further behind, below the 100MW mark.
According to our overview only three operational plants in LatAm have an installed capacity of 100MW or larger. The largest Latin American solar plant (160 MW) is located in Chile, in the Antofagasta region. The ‘smallest’ plant in this overview (23MW) is the Pacifico plant, located in Honduras.
Only T-Solar, Enel GP and SunEdison/TerraForm are represented as owners more than once in this overview. For the remaining plants ownership is fragmented. Interestingly most of the owners of these power plants are headquartered outside the LatAm region.
O&M is a fairly new topic in the LatAm region, as operational plants are still young of age and most issues still have to be encountered. This is no different than what we’ve seen in other, more mature regions. Companies providing O&M to the plants in this overview are often owners and/or developers, but not in every case. It will be interesting to see how this segment will evolve in the Latin American region over the coming few years.
(Interested in learning more about the Latin American O&M market and potential? Consider attending 'Solar Asset Management: Latin America' from 28 to 29 September in Santiago, Chile - Learn more here)