At a distance, it looks like an ocean in the middle of the desert. It is not a mirage, it’s the largest solar park on the American continent, located in the state of Coahuila in northern Mexico.
The 2.3 million panels are arranged in rows on the sand and follow the path of the sun from sunrise to sunset, like sunflowers.
They cover an area equivalent to 2,200 football fields. At the global level, only projects in China and India are currently larger in size.
Built by Italy’s Enel, the project cost $650 million and is in line with the Mexican government’s strategy of producing 43% of its electricity from clean energy by 2024.
Once fully operational by the end of the year, this solar park is expected to produce 1,700 gigawatts per hour, meeting the energy needs of approximately 1.3 million Mexican households.
Mexico received praise from environmentalists in 2015 when it became the first emerging country to announce an ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target of 30% by 2020, and 50% by 2050.
The authorities auctioned three solar park projects that generated investments estimated at $ 8.6 billion.
In addition to Enel, the American Recurrent Energy and the Dutch company Aten, are also building a solar park in the state of Aguascalientes (center), after having won these markets.
The energy produced is expected to meet the needs of 6.5 million households in the country, according to official figures.
This is an essential part of the Mexican energy reform approved at the end of 2013, which opened the private sector to the energy sector for the first time in just over 70 years.