PV-Buzz Special Report

Last year(2014), Aura Solar began delivering solar generated electricity to the La Paz power grid. The 100 hectare/ 250 acre site provides 30 megawatts of electricity which accounts for about 64% of the city’s requirements.

The facility, which was constructed by the Portuguese company Martifer Solar and managed by Aura Solar–is extensive and located to the East-Southeast of the La Paz International Airport.

The plant cost an estimated $100 million US dollars. So what about the remaining 40%?

la paz, MexicoCorrected aerial image of La Paz, Mexico

Today, Grupotec is building another solar power plant which is scheduled to start producing power in June 2015. This new solar power plant in La Paz will include a battery storage, and when completed will make La Paz the first city in Latin America with its electrical needs completely generated through alternative sources by accounting for the remaining 40%.

This solar PV plant is estimated to cost $80 million, will include 97,000 solar panels covering 44 acres, and produce 30 megawatts of power capacity. The battery storage facility will hold 11 megawatts.

La Paz is one of the best places in Mexico to invest in solar power plant construction. It might even compete with the best places in the world, plus it has a high solar energy multiplier, based a on near direct angle to the sun and the number of clear sky days.

To sell this power, Grupotec negotiated a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Mexican utility CFE–as so did Aura Solar under Mexico’s new Small Electric Producers program.

La Paz is the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur and an important regional commercial center. Demand for electricity has soared in Baja, with a rising socio-economic status and a greater demand for comfort in the hot summer months mostly in the form of air conditioning. Part of the reason for the dramatic growth in electric usage in Baja has been the influx of North Americans.

With a population of about 215,000 people, the new Grupotec solar power plant is expected to cover 40–42% of the city of La Paz’s electricity demand–which makes it a 100% — way to go La Paz, that’s how its done!

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has 8+ years of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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6 Comments

  1. The picture in the article is not of La Paz BCS Mexico. Aura Solar is no where near operational after hurricane Oldie no repairs have been made it’s a mess of twisted arrays and dangling wires. The MW ratings don’t add up.

    1. Thanks on the heads-up Jonathan — the image has been corrected. Could you please expand on your discussion about the hurricane or refer us to an article that discusses this?

      1. I don’t think any publication has covered the hurricane damage to Aura Solar, having seen its current condition firsthand I can tell you it’s a story that should probably be covered to improve future designs in vulnerable areas.

        1. Jonathan, If you are able to get some images of this and maybe some more facts if on the ground; we’d be glad to update this story with full credits to you ofcourse.

          1. Let me know where to send the pics.

            1. Please email them to [email protected] please include any relevant information you may have about this–thanks.

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