Chile And Honduras Leading Latin America’s Solar Revolution

Solar in Chile and Honduras

A favourable policy environment will see Honduras become Latin America’s second largest solar market this year; with Chile retaining the no. 1 ranking, says GTM Research’s latest Latin America PV Playbook.

“Regulatory clarity and incentives for investors have set the country apart from its neighbors El Salvador and Nicaragua, where a lack of clear rules and price stability are hindering solar development,” says GTM of Honduras.

Honduras’ energy transformation has been some years in the making; kicking off in 2007 when the country implemented legislation to promote renewable energy generation.

GTM says what really set things rolling was the launch of a premium tariff in 2013 of USD $155 per megawatt-hour for the first 300 megawatts of PV capacity active on the mains grid by the end of July this year.

With regard to developers, GTM says SunEdison leads the pack in Honduras. The company has three solar projects in the country so far totaling 81.7 megawatts –  the two 23.3-megawatt Pacífico and Choluteca I plants and the 35.1-megawatt Choluteca II power station.

The leading Latin American country for solar PV this year will again be Chile says GTM. SunEdison is very active there also; with well-established solar power plants including the 100MW Amanecer Solar CAP plant, the 50.7 MW San Andrés solar farm and the 72.8 MW Maria Elena power station.

In December 2014, SunEdison was also awarded a contract by Chile’s government to supply 570 gigawatt hours of solar electricity annually – and SunEdison will do so at a cost below the equivalent power generated by fossil fuels.

In July this year, the company commenced construction of the 110-megawatt Quilapilun solar power plant in the Metropolitan Region of Chile.

Across Latin America, 3.2 GW of projects were announced in the second quarter of this year and the region’s total pipeline has hit 38.2 GW. GTM Research says 891 MW of PV entered the construction phase during the second quarter. 363 MW of utility-scale PV became operational in Latin America in Q2 2015 – a record for the region.