Mexico’s largest PV installation comes online to serve as ‘test site’

  • The Cerro Prieto project will serve as a “test site” to determine which technologies and equipment are most suited to the Mexican climate. Image: SPG Solar.
    The Cerro Prieto project will serve as a “test site” to determine which technologies and equipment are most suited to the Mexican climate. Image: SPG Solar.

The 5MW Cerro Prieto solar project — which is said to be Mexico’s largest PV installation to date — has been completed and is now operational.

Located in Cerro Prieto, the project is owned by the state-owned electric utility company Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) and has been built to serve as a “test site”. The utility firm will collate data from the facility in order to determine which technologies and equipment are most suitable for the Mexican climate and for wider adoption in the country. The pilot project is the first of its kind in Mexico.

As a result, half of the project is built using thin-film PV modules supplied by Solar Frontier while the other half is equipped with polycrystalline PV modules provided by Siliken.

SPG Solar provided its single-axis All-Weather SunSeeker tracker which is being utilised for 60% or 3MW of the project. According to the company, the tracker has the ability to generate up to 25% more energy compared with fixed-tilt installations.

Installation began in July 2012 and the project was completed in December 2012. EPC services were provided by Iberdrola Ingenieria & Construcción Mexico.

Speaking with PV-Tech, Bill Elwell, SPG Solar’s Vice President of Product Sales, said he believed the project would be “a great stepping stone” for the Mexican PV industry.  “I believe that Mexico offers a great deal of potential. Not only are energy costs rising but Mexico has great solar resources.”

Elwell also revealed that Central America will be a key area of focus for SPG Solar. In particular, he sees high demand in Puerto Rico which has had a number of utility-scale projects come online in the past year.

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