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The Authority of Public Services of the Republic of Panama (ASEP) has provided provisional licenses for two solar power plants.

The two plants totalling 29.9MW will both be located in the Chiriquí province, on the western coast of Panama.

Both provisional licenses were announced on 15 April. The licenses are for exploration, construction and operation, but expire after 12 months.

The first project is 19.9MW, named Proyecto Solar Bajo Frío and located in Aserrio de Gariché.

The project is being developed by local hydropower plant operator, Bajo Frío.

The other project is a 9MW plant, the Planta Fotovoltaica Chiriquí and is to be constructed in San Juan.

The developer Enel Fortuna – a subsidiary of Enel Green Power, which also operates a 300MW hydropower plant on the Chiriqui river – filed application for the development in November 2012.

Grid connection for the 9MW project has already been signed for the Enel Green project, between Enel Fortuna, and Panama’s electricity distributor, Empresa de Distribución Chiriquí.

ASEP announced it had awarded the first provisional license for the projects, after environmental assessment and other requirements and documents were approved – the preliminary licence allows further exploration into the construction and generation of energy from solar power plants in Chiriquí province. The licence lasts for 12 months, and still needs final public licence.

Enel Green Power also helped develop Panama’s first solar power plant, which started construction in 2012, with a US$9 million contribution.

Panama and the growing Latin America PV market also attracted module manufacturer Renesola to open new headquarters in the Central American country, earlier this year.