Central America Solar Capacity Set To Explode

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The Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama may not be household names in the solar energy game, but if the latest forecasts from market research company IHS Technology are to be believed, that might soon change.

Total capacity for the six countries currently stands at 6 MW in 2013, and is expected to reach 22 MW by the end of 2014. It’s an impressive jump, but nothing to write home about. However, IHS believe that the region will then see their installed capacity explode, reaching up to 243 MW in 2015 before continuing to grow to over 500 by the end of 2018.

central america

“About 70 percent of the electricity generated in Central America already comes from renewable sources, mainly hydro,” said Josefin Berg, senior analyst for solar demand at IHS. “Yet over the past few years, increasing power demand has been met with new thermal generation thanks to power generated from oil, coal and gas, increasing reliance on fossil fuel imports. To counteract this and to avoid future volatility in electricity pricing, governments have begun supporting the controlled deployment of renewables.”

The forecast figures predict that 81% of the six-year projected total will be spread over the final three years, reaching a cumulative total in the region of 1.5 GW by the end of the forecast period.

An earlier report from August backs up IHS’s predictions. Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported in August that Mexico and Central America have seen clean energy investment skyrocket over the past several years.

Mexico saw record investment of $2.4 billion in 2010, but at the time of the report the country had already invested $1.3 billion in the first half of the year. While further south, Bloomberg calculated for the six countries of Central America a total investment in clean energy of $317 million throughout the first half of 2014.

Countries throughout the Americas, Middle East, Africa, and Asia have been heralded as the future of renewable energy growth, thanks to a series of contributing factors — including the ever decreasing cost of renewable energy like solar and wind, the need to secure at-home energy generation, and attract international investment. However, it is likely that growth in these regions will take place over a longer period of time than was seen throughout the westernized world over the past decade.

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

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14 thoughts on “Central America Solar Capacity Set To Explode

  • its logical
    as price of Solar Power is low, and abundance of sun in the region.
    people make money with Solar. as can do communities and cities, and they will
    China makes a new canal in Nicaragua, 50 billion project and make money.
    China will push Solar in the region and make even more money.
    simple as that.
    Solar is a billion dollar market.

    fossil electricity generation makes no sense no more.
    not only in Central America but everywhere.
    the old fossil steam machine electricity Utility era is history.
    for the benefit of all.

    • That Nicaragua Canal will never happen and shouldn’t.
      It would be another environmental crime the world does not need.
      But lining the Panama Canal with solar panels would be positive.

      • Yeah, that canal appears to be flim-flam designed to stop Panama raising prices for their canal. Panama makes about one billion a year in tolls and that’s about the maximum it can squeeze. Even if the two contries collude to maximise revenue and don’t get into a price war the Nicaraguan canal, or rather the company that will mostly own it, will make less than a billion a year on a $40 billion investment for maybe a 2% return. That makes no sense at all. Maybe it makes some sort of political sense to certain parties.

        • One of the justification for a Nicaragua canal was to increase the size of ships that can currently transverse the Panama Canal.

          (I had the “interesting” experience of going through the canal and sharing a lock with a PanaMax ship. They have amazingly little side clearance. My little sail boat tucked in under their bow. I felt like an ant about to be crushed under a giant sneaker.)

          Now they are close to finishing a widening of the Panama so the larger ships will no longer have to go around the Horn and an argument for the Nicaraguan canal is disappearing.

          Plus we’re extending the Northern Arctic shipping season….

          • Hmmm… My father had the interesting experience of being on a ship that nearly crushed a sailboat in the Panama canal. They did not succeed that time but later in the Great Lakes they collided with another ship that took their nose off. (Remember kids, drinking and sailing don’t mix! Okay, you got me, they totally do. But the point is, they shouldn’t.) They patched it up with concrete and then sailed to India to get it fixed.

  • All of this is great, but the governments in Central America make it very, very difficult to import the panels, unnecessarily holding them in Customs for long periods of time. The panels are only panels, customs agents have been used, the paperwork completely in order, yet…delay, delay, delay.

    • A familiar story across the world, unfortunately. This sort of nonsense is generally reduced as countries develop, but I don’t know how things are going in this area in Central America.

  • For once in its often miserable history, Central America has got lucky. It’s mountainous and rainy, so has good hydro resources. The mountains are volcanoes, so there is (conventional) geothermal. An there is sun, for solar. The hydro and geothermal mean that grid integration of solar power is a very manageable problem.

    • Sweetheart in most of the United States, solar works!!!!!! Become a capitalist and create trickle down economics from your roof to your pocket-book!!!!!!!!!

  • With electricity prices of around 20 cents a kilowatt-hour in Costa Rica and a sunny climate, solar installations could expand extremely rapidly across the country. The capital costs of solar are now low and the cost of labour is low compared to Western Europe, Japan, etc. which will help make for low cost installations. What generally happens is that once regulartory burdens are removed it takes a couple of years for things to really take off, as both installers and consumers go through a learning process, but with such great opportunities for solar power this process may not take long.

  • Put solar panels on your roof and a Tesla in your garage and tell the koch brothers to kiss your ass. Any questions?????????

    • Put your tinfoil hat back on and the voices will go away.

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