Backers mark construction of $40m solar project in Mexico

On April 14, Buenavista Renewables (BVR), OCI Solar Power (OCISP), the La Salle educational network and Leoni Cable celebrated construction of Mexico’s first private solar park with a ceremonial solar panel installation at the Los Santos Solar I solar park in Moctezuma, Chihuahua, Mexico.

This project is the first utility-scale solar park to supply energy to private off-takers in Mexico via a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), said the project backers in an April 15 statement.

The $40 million solar plant received financing from the North American Development Bank (NADB) and the Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC). The plant will provide energy to La Salle educational network’s northern district and to Leoni Cable, a German-based leader in the production of cables and cable systems. Los Santos Solar I is the first of a multi-stage project. This phase consists of 52,000 photovoltaic panels.

“Chihuahua is the largest state of Mexico and a world leader in solar resources. Our state has a large and venerable agricultural and ranching industry which has been hit by climate change. This has resulted in tracts of barren, unusable land,” said the Governor of Chihuahua, César Horacio Duarte Jáquez. “In this situation, citizens of Chihuahua have bravely turned to the industrial sector. This land, currently unused, coupled with our sun, can deliver to Mexico clean and permanent energy, helping to curb the devastating effects caused by climate change.”

Bill Livengood, President of Leoni Cable, added: “We are proud to be a core partner in this project and to take a leadership role for sustainability in the automotive cable industry. This will further complement our activities in product and material development that help reduce vehicle weight and support the electrification of the automobile.”

BVR served as lead developer on this project with investment and project consultation provided by OCI Solar Power, an international solar developer based in San Antonio, Texas. When the Los Santos I project is complete, OCI will acquire ownership of the project and operate it for the remainder of the PPA.

“Mexico is a country with tremendous potential for solar development. We are pleased to be entering into this market as solar emerges as a highly competitive energy source,” said SH Yoon, President and CEO of OCI Solar Power. “We look forward to continued work with BVR and additional projects in Mexico.”

Jose Ruiz, President and CEO of Buenavista Renewables Mexico, said: “Without the confidence of our investors, the perseverance of the OCI and BVR teams, the assistance of our banks, the guidance of SENER, the support of the state government, and the visionary leadership of La Salle and Leoni Cable we wouldn’t be here today at this very emblematic ceremony.”

BVR was advised in the project by Holland & KnightChadbourne & Parke, Greenberg Traurig, and GSSG Solar LLC.

Based in San Antonio, Texas, OCI Solar Power works with local officials, community organizations and local partners to engineer, develop, construct and operate solar projects.

Buenavista Renewables (BVR) is a renewable energy project developer in emerging markets and select island economies, with an emphasis on Mexico. BVR designs financial, technical and legal structures to ensure the bankability of projects and offers its clients long-term, competitive and stable renewable electricity rates.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.