PV to 'predominate' in future Mexican tenders: SunPower

A SunPower utility-scale PV plant
Wind will likely improve its performance in Mexico's second renewables tender, but solar will predominate in the long run, predicts Ty Daul, senior vice president for Americas Power Plants at SunPower.

California-based SunPower was one of the big winners in Mexico’s first tender this March, securing contracts for projects totaling 400MW in Yucatan and 100MW in Guanajuato – or 20% of the total energy tendered in the auction.

SunPower also bid projects into the second tender, Daul told Recharge last week on the sidelines of Solar Power International. “We’re confident we’ll see some success in auction two as well,” he says.

Mexico’s state power company CFE this week announced that it has signed contracts for the power output from 1.2GW of generation capacity in the second tender, whose results will be finalised next week. Fifty-seven companies submitted 475 project bids.

Aside from SunPower, the list of other qualifying bidders in the second tender included Iberdrola, Engie, Canadian Solar, and Enel Green Power. 

Solar’s commanding performance in the first tender – bringing home nearly three-quarters of the capacity up for grabs – surprised the global renewables industry, and was taken as further evidence of the progress solar energy has made against other generation sources in recent years.

“I’ve been in both wind and solar, and I’ve got a lot of good friends and colleagues in the wind space,” says Daul, who previously worked for Iberdrola Renewables and Element Power.

“I think most people anticipated something like 70% wind [in Mexico’s first auction], maybe even more wind. They were shocked at the outcome.”

Changes to some of the rules mean the outcome of the second tender is likely to be “more balanced” between wind and solar, Daul says.

“If you look at the total percentages, it will probably lean a little bit more towards wind in the second auction,” he says. “But then as we think beyond that auction, we’ll probably see solar continuing to be the predominate resource.”

SunPower has made Mexico one of its core markets for large-scale power plant development for the next few years.

Aside from development, tthe company has a manufacturing facility in Mexicali, where it can assemble 1GW of modules annually, and it recently announced it will close its panel-plant in the Philippines and transfer the equipment to the Mexican facility.

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