Sea of solar panels turns Mexican desert green

Mexico's new solar park, the largest in Latin America, could help to power more than a million homes with renewable energy.

From a distance, it looks like a deep-blue sea has formed in the middle of the Mexican desert.

But this is no mirage. It's the largest solar park in Latin America.

With 2.3 million solar panels covering the equivalent of 2,200 football fields in the arid northern state of Coahuila, the Villanueva power plant is part of Mexico's push to generate 43 per cent of its electricity from clean sources by 2024.

The solar panels will produce enough electricity to power 1.3 million homes.
Source: YouTube

Arrayed across the sand in seemingly endless rows that stretch to the horizon, the solar panels - built by Italian energy company Enelare - turn in tandem with the sun, like a giant field of shimmering metallic sunflowers.

The $650-million project came online in December and is due to produce 1,700-gigawatt hours when fully operational later this year - enough to power 1.3 million homes.

Mexico won plaudits from environmentalists in 2015 when it became the first emerging country to announce its emissions reduction targets for the United Nations climate accord, ambitiously vowing to halve them by 2050.

To get there, it is tendering clean energy projects in which private companies produce, sell and purchase electricity on an open market.

The three projects tendered so far have generated an estimated $8.6 billion in investment. The resulting electricity will power some 6.5 million homes, according to government figures.

The Villanueva plant is the largest solar project in the world outside China and India.

Published 24 April 2018 at 4:21pm, updated 25 April 2018 at 7:21am
Source: AFP - SBS