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Published on November 8th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston


Enel To Build 220 Megawatt Solar Plant in Mexico

November 8th, 2018 by  

Enel Green Power is adding another 220 megawatts of solar generation to its clean energy portfolio in Mexico, with the Magdalena II solar park near the municipalities of Tlaxco and Hueyotlipan, in the state of Tlaxcala. With 550,000 photovoltaic modules, the solar plant is expected to begin operating by the end of 2019, and at full capacity will generate 600 gigawatt-hours of electricity per year. Tlaxcala is a small state in central Mexico, east of Mexico City.

“This new project is yet another step in our expansion within the important Mexican market, where we are continuing to bring our global renewable expertise,” said Paolo Romanacci, the head of EGP Mexico and Central America, in a statement. “The company’s entry into the State of Tlaxcala, which boasts an abundance of solar resources, confirms our commitment to help Mexico meet its electricity needs by boosting the country’s renewable energy mix,” he added.

Image courtesy Enel

In Mexico, Enel Green Power manages 1.8 GW of clean energy generation capacity, of which 1.1 GW are solar, 675 MW are wind energy, and 53 MW are hydropower. EGP Mexico is the largest renewable energy operator in the country in terms of installed capacity and project portfolio.

Apart from the Magdalena solar project, EGP is completing several wind projects in the country. In the state of Coahuila, Enel Green Power is completing the 200 MW Amistad wind farm and has started building the 100 MW Amistad II wind facility. In the state of Tamaulipas, the company is building the 103 MW Salitrillos wind farm.

Enel operates in Mexico using a Build-Sell-Operate strategy to maximize its ability to make new investments. In late September, the company spun off a majority stake in eight plants with a cumulative 1.8 GW of renewables generation in Mexico while retaining plant management. The sale involved 80% of the $2.6 billion equity in eight special purpose investment vehicles sold to Caisse de dépot et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and CKD Infraestructura México. CDPQ is a Canadian pension fund and CKD is a Mexican pension fund.

As part of the equity sale, EGP also formed new joint ventures with the two buyers, for which EGP will continue to operate the functioning plants and will complete those still under construction. The eight special purpose vehicles own a portfolio consisting of three plants already in full operation at a total of 429 MW, three recently connected plants with a total of 1,089 MW, and two projects under construction with a total of 300 MW, for an overall total of about 1.8 GW in generating capacity, EGP says.

The plants that make up the portfolio consist of about 1.1 GW, including three solar farms: Villanueva I with 469 MW, Villanueva III with 359 MW, and Don José with 260 MW. Villanueva, is the largest operating solar plant in Mexico and Enel’s largest solar project worldwide. The project comprises over 2.5 million solar panels, capable of producing more than 2,000 GWh per year.

The portfolio also includes about 0.7 GW from five wind farms: Amistad at 198 MW, Dominica at 200 MW, Palo Alto at 129 MW, Salitrillos at 103 MW and Vientos del Altiplano at 100 MW. These plants all hold long-term power purchase agreements, EGP indicates.

The construction of these renewable projects is performed utilizing Enel’s Sustainable Construction Site model, which includes the measurement of the socio-environmental impact of the projects and actions aimed at improving this indicator, through water treatment systems, waste recycling and the training of workers from the local population, EGP says.

The company’s Villanueva project team held furniture-making courses for local communities, utilizing 2.6 tons of pallet wood and boxes used in construction works. In addition, to preserve local ecosystems, the project team relocated to the plant’s surrounding areas more than 150,000 flora specimens, including various types of cacti, and over 25,000 fauna specimens, including frogs, snakes and lizards.

Similarly, the Don José project team relocated to the wind farm’s surrounding areas more than 1,000 local flora specimens, including cacti and palm trees, EGP reports.

The company also uses advanced management tools for smart construction. During the Magdalena project construction, for example, EGP will also employ high efficiency practices and tools, including smart tracking of components, advanced digital platforms and software solutions to monitor and remotely support site activities, including plant commissioning, the company says.

These tools and solutions will allow for quicker, more accurate and reliable data collection on site activities, improving the overall quality of construction and facilitating communication between on-site and off-site teams, the company adds. 

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About the Author

Charles specializes in renewable energy, from finance to technological processes. Among key areas of focus are bifacial panels and solar tracking. He has been active in the industry for over 25 years, living and working in locations ranging from Brazil to Papua New Guinea.

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