SolFocus, Inc. joined today with Grupo Musa and Synergy Technologies, LLC to announce the launch of a landmark solar power plant in Baja California near Tecate, Mexico. The project, planned as a 450 megawatt total capacity, will be built in 50 megawatt tranches, with construction on the first tranche starting in late 2012 and being operational before the end of 2013. The power plant, which will use SolFocus Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) equipment, will be owned and operated by SolMex Energy S.A. de C.V., the new company formed by Grupo Musa and Synergy Technologies for the production of clean solar energy in Mexico.
"The project is in direct alignment with the Mexico and U.S. bilateral clean energy agenda. The countries share a common goal of achieving strong economic growth and energy security while addressing climate change and increasing the reliability of energy infrastructure," said Lic. David Muñoz, Director General of the Baja California State Commission of Energy. "Mexico has been successful with wind energy, and now this large solar project will support our energy infrastructure and economic development efforts in the very near future. This project adds to Governor Osuna Millan's vision of a sustainable Baja California."
Historically, the renewable energy market in Mexico has been comprised primarily of wind power. However, with the launch of this project, solar has made a major step forward as an energy source for the country. Grupo Musa recognized this opportunity for providing low-cost, dependable energy and will be consuming most of the initial 50 megawatt installation to meet energy demands at its various facilities. "There is no doubt that Baja California faces energy challenges, and we are excited that we are able to utilize two of our key resources – abundant land and solar fuel – to enhance the environmental and economic sustainability of Northern Mexico," explained Ing. Marcos Sarabia Rodelo, Director of Special Projects for Grupo Musa.
The power plant is being built on land owned by Grupo Musa near Tecate. Northern Mexico has the third greatest solar resource in the world, making it an ideal location for this project.
"While Tecate is a solar-rich region, the hot temperatures make it a challenging environment for traditional solar equipment," commented Synergy Technologies CEO Matt Piell. "We decided to use the advanced, high-efficiency CPV equipment from SolFocus in order to reduce the amount of equipment required, have systems which operate at top performance even in these hot temperatures, and improve the overall financial economics of the project."
"Building on the track record of SolFocus projects in the southwest U.S. and Mexico, this project in Mexico will turn dormant land into jobs and low-cost, reliable electricity," added SolFocus CEO Mark Crowley. "In the first year of operation we should deliver at least 120,000 megawatt hours of electricity to Baja California." The power plant will incorporate 3,850 SolFocus SF-1136SX systems on the 122 hectare (~300 acre) site.
This project has been a collaborative effort of both public and private enterprises. Instrumental in the execution of the project were ProMéxico and Asian Pacific Development Corporation. "After thirty years of doing infrastructure projects on four continents, we have never had stronger support than we have received from ProMéxico, the Mexican Consular Corps, Ambassador Sarukhan, local and state government officials, and representatives of CFE," commented Randy Avon, CEO of Asian Pacific Development Corporation. The corporation brought together the consortium of partners, worked with the Mexican government, and facilitated many aspects of the project including engagement of international financing corporation FINEXIM for a commitment on debt financing.
"After a year of full cooperation and collaboration between top executives at ProMéxico and the project team, FINEXIM has allocated $720 million to the first four of nine 50 megawatt tranches of the solar project," added William Beilman, Managing Director of FINEXIM.
In expressing his thoughts on the project, Mexico's Ambassador to the U.S. Arturo Sarukhan commented, "I wish to congratulate the partners on the decision to design, build and operate a state of the art solar technology farm in Tecate, Mexico. The Embassy and Mexico's economic development group ProMéxico fully support this and future solar infrastructure projects in Mexico."