Latin America PV pipeline approaching 20GW

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PV in Latin America is gathering momentum with a pipeline approaching 20GW and 1GW expected to be installed this year, according to GTM Research.

The latest edition of its 'Latin American Playbook' reveals that over the past quarter, the region’s PV pipeline has increased by 22%, reaching 19.5GW. A totoal of 514 PV projects are currently located in Latin America, valued at a total cost of US$26 billion.

The pipeline that the report measured was a combination of both announced projects and total capacity under construction. At the moment, 836MW of projects are currently under construction while 18.7GW of systems have been announced.

Over 50MW of projects have come online over the past three months – creating a total of 377MW of large-scale PV capacity in the region.

Thanks in large part to a 70MW Salvador PV project that is expected to commence operations in December, Chile is expected to lead all Latin American countries with 277MW of installed capacity in 2014. Since the end of 2013 the country's huge PV pipeline has begun to be realised, with US firm SunEdison completing two projects in country and compatriot, First Solar, getting underway with what will be Chile's largest PV plant.

Solar analyst Adam James said: “The strong fundamentals in the Chilean market are finally translating into real results, as credible projects secure offtake agreements and lock in financing. But it's not just quantity of megawatts that makes Chile so interesting. Chile is pioneering sustainable solar markets, and we are seeing many companies pursuing non-traditional business models for selling solar power, such as negotiating shorter-length or more flexible contracts and selling some, or all, power into the spot electricity market.”

GTM expects more than 1GW of projects will come online across the region in 2014 – seven times more than what was installed in 2013.

However, despite having previously forecast Mexico to be the region's leader this year, GTM said it had revised this projection because of pending new energy legislation.

“Mexico’s energy market is currently on edge for constitutional reforms. Solar projects are being delayed and held in suspense for law changes,” said James.

Ulimately, though, this should help the solar sector, speeding up procurement and interconnection and boosting installatoins, James added.

Brazil’s solar fortunes and those of Latin America more broadly are explored in depth in the new issue of Solar Business Focus, out now. Click here to read it.

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