New solar farm near border reflects Mexico’s push toward alternative energy sources

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Spanish company wins contracts to sell energy to Federal Electricity Commission

A rooftop is covered with solar panels at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, in New York. ConEdison Solutions installed 3,152 solar panels on the roof of Building 293 in 2016. The new panels will generate 1.1 million kilowatt hours of energy per year, according to the mayor’s office. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provided more than $600,000 in incentives for the project. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A Spanish energy company has confirmed plans to build and operate an 80-megawatt solar panel plant near Juarez, Mexico.

The solar farm was first announced last week by Chihuahua Gov. Javier Corral, who said X-Elio is investing $100 million in the project.

Corral said solar plants run by other companies are already operating in the cities of Villa Ahumada, Delicias, Jimenez and Camargo, all in his state.

(AP file photo)

“In Chihuahua we have one of the highest indexes of sunlight (in the world), well above Spain or Germany, countries that host some of the largest (solar) energy-generating projects” worldwide, Corral said.

An X-Elio Mexico office representative confirmed the company has a major solar energy project in the works in Juarez but said all other inquiries would be answered by email. The company has not yet responded to a Border Report inquiry sent on Tuesday. Trade industry reports state the Terranova Conejos-Medanos solar farm would be near the town of Ascencion, Chihuahua, a few miles south of the U.S. border.

According to its company website, X-Elio already operates photovoltaic solar plants in Mexico. Their Guanajuato plant generates 73.3 megawatts of electricity at peak power, and their Xoxocotla, Morelos plant is expected to produce 50 to 56 megawatts a year.

X-Elio has been awarded contracts by the Mexican government to generate 250 megawatts for use by the Federal Electricity Commission, a state-run power company.

The administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is trying to diversify electricity production, emphasizing alternative energy sources such as solar and geothermal and incorporating privately-generated electricity into the power grid of the Federal Electricity Commission.

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