Jujuy province claims 300MW clean sweep in Argentine tender

The government of Argentina’s northwestern province of Jujuy claimed its power company JEMSE will sign 20-year PPAs for the entire 300MW of PV tendered for by the national government, paving the way for it to secure Chinese financing to build the projects.

“We offered solar power at $60/MWh. That is why we won the whole tender, which means 300MW,” said Jujuy’s governor Gerardo Morales during a press conference at the provincial government headquarters in San Salvador de Jujuy.

Morales said he will meet with the Chinese ambassador in Argentina next week to discuss the projects, which require $400m of investment.

JEMSE has teamed with Chinese companies Powerchina, Shanghai Electric and Talesun to develop and build the projects. Morales also said he expects JEMSE to obtain financing from the Chinese Eximbank.

His comments came three days before the Argentine energy ministry formally announces the winners of the first tender for 1GW – 600MW of wind and 300MW of solar – under the RenovAr renewable energy programme.

Officials in Buenos Aires have given no indication over JEMSE's status, but a Jujuy statement claims to have been congratulated on its success.

If the JEMSE contracts are confirmed it means that the provincial power company will have won all the 300MW the government wants to contract for 2018, beating 22 others with its bids for three projects of 100MW each.

Jujuy is located in Argentina’s northwestern region, in the Andean foothills where solar irradiation is similar to Chile’s, which enjoys some of the world’s best solar resources.

Jujuy and other provinces in the northwestern region accounted for 1.9GW of the total 2.3GW of solar projects offered.

On 30 September the energy ministry announced qualified bidders and average solar prices came in at $76.2/MWh, below its $90/MWh cap. On 7 October the national government will announce the winners according to lowest price offered, projects’ quality and feasibility of connections to the grid.

A total of 2.3GW of solar projects qualified to bid.

Energia Sustentable – a unit of Argentine developer 360 Energy – offered 635MW from 13 projects which, according to local press, had prices close to $70/MWh.

China’s JinkoSolar was the third biggest bidder with 180MW from two projects. Its prices were also close to $70/MWh, according to data from the Jujuy provincial government.

According to local media, only Spain’s Fieldfare outbid JEMSE with $59/MWh from a 100MW project in Salta province.