Latin America Brought Record 363 MW Of Utility-Scale Solar Online In Q2’15

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Latin America brought a record 363 MW of new utility-scale solar online in the second quarter of 2015, with project construction up 61% year-over-year.

These are the primary findings from GTM Research’s Q2 2015 Latin America PV Playbook, published today, which revealed both new-online and construction figures were up, 80% and 61% respectively.

In the second quarter, Latin America brought a total of 363 MW of newly operational utility-scale solar PV online — the largest quarter ever in the history of the Latin America utility-scale solar market. And while a number of countries are worth mentioning for their impact on this figure, the northern country of Honduras outdistanced them all, installing a whopping 307 MW across 7 separate projects in the quarter. GTM Research placed Honduras’ bonus tariff of 10% over the marginal cost for projects connected by the end of July as the primary reason for this significant installation figure.

Following well behind was the usually dominant Chile, with 29 MW brought online in the second quarter. Chile is one of the most attractive markets in both Latin America and South America consideration. Research and consulting firm GlobalData recently released a report which named Chile as having the fastest increase in renewable development between 2015 and 2017, and predicting the country’s installed capacity will rise from 1.06 GW in 2013 to 5.37 GW installed by the end of 2017.

Panama and Brazil followed in third and fourth place, installing 12 MW and 11 MW respectively in the second quarter, whereas GTM Research also noted that Venezuela and Antigua both connected their first utility-scale solar PV plants in the quarter as well.

New construction for the second quarter was also up, with 981 MW of utility-scale solar PV entering the construction phase. The majority of the construction is, unsurprisingly, taking place in Chile, but Mexico is currently in the process of constructing 54 MW of solar, while Jamaica has 20 MW.

Looking forward, GTM Research predicts that utility-scale solar PV will make up 92% of Latin America’s forecasted 2.3 GW of solar installations in 2015.

“Commercial users tend to pay the highest retail electricity rates in almost every Latin American country,” says Senior Solar Analyst Adam James. “With its attractive prices and easier access to capital, the market will grow quickly from its small base today.”

Separately, in speaking exclusively with PV Tech, James also highlighted the prediction that the deployment of 1 MW to 5 MW solar systems in Brazil is expected to more than triple in 2016, after new net-metering proposals. GTM Research is apparently forecasting 6 MW of such solar systems to be installed in 2015, which will then rise to 20 MW in 2016. Overall, Brazil’s PV sector is expected to triple from 55 MW in 2015 to 145 MW in 2016.

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Joshua S Hill

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