Ford to buy power from 20MW Mexico solar farm

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Sonora80M Group has signed an agreement to deliver 15% of energy generated at its planned 20MW solar park in Mexico to Ford Motor Company.

The solar park will be located in Hermosillo, in the state of Sonora in northern Mexico, and is expected to start operations in 2014.

Plans to build the park, billed at the time as Mexico's “first large-scale PV project”, were confirmed in August 2012. It will use Portuguese EPC firm Martifer Solar’s Smartracker technology, a one-axis tracker which is said to optimise the installation’s yield by around 30% and maximise the power distributed to the grid.

Commenting on the delay from planning to implementation, Pablo Mayo Sanz, partner-director of Sonora80M, told PV-Tech: “The delay is due to all the legal requirements needed to complete the project. This project sells energy to seven municipalities in Sonora (as well as Ford Motor Company), and this kind of public-private structure is quite complex, and requires political approval before starting.”

Martifer Solar was awarded an EPC contract for a 30MW PV facility in La Paz, Baja California, Mexico last week, which it said would be the “largest PV plant in Latin America to date”.

But Sanz said: “We were the first in Mexico to have 25-year PPA signed. And with the first phase we are not going to be the biggest. But when the four phases would be completed, we will have 80MW.”

The company is currently negotiating the PPA for the second phase. “We hope the second phase (between 20MW and 30MW) to be in place by 2015,” Sanz said.

“Talking about third and fourth phase is harder to predict. We prefer not to make any announcement until things are well tied.”

Cesar Martin, group director of Sonora80M said: “This agreement with Ford demonstrates the strength and success of Sonora80M as pioneers in the development of solar energy in Mexico.

“Before Sonora80M, Mexico solar potential was not exploited. Today, seven municipalities of Sonora (Alamos, Caborca, Splice, Etchojoa, Guaymas, Santa Ana and Hermosillo) and a large company like Ford, rely on us to join the path of respect for the environment, supporting Mexico in compliance with the Kyoto Protocol.”
 

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