Spain-based Acciona Energia and Mexican company Tuto Energy, owners of the Puerto Libertad photovoltaic complex in Sonora state, Northern Mexico, with a 50% stake each, have signed a financing agreement for the 404-MWp plant with four banks: The North American Development Bank (NADB), Banco Nacional de Obras y Servicios of Mexico (BANOBRAS), Instituto de Crédito Oficial of Spain (ICO) and Banco SABADELL– for a maximum US$264 million (226 million euros at current exchange rates). The plant is being financed on an equal basis among the four entities in the project finance modality, with a repayment term of 18 years.
Construction work on the complex, one of the biggest in Latin America, began in February this year and it is expected to be fully operational in the first trimester of 2019.
Part of the production from Puerto Libertad (229 MWp) will cover supplies to the state-owned utility company Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) amounting to 478.3 GWh of electric power and the corresponding clean energy certificates awarded to the project consortium in the second long-term electricity supply auction held in Mexico.
Another 114 MWp will be used to service a private electricity purchase-and-sale contract, and the remaining 61 MWp will be allocated to marketing energy in the wholesale electricity market.
The Puerto Libertad plant will be equipped with 1,222,800 polycrystalline silicon panels mounted on horizontal tracking structures.
With a total solar capture surface area of 2.4 km2 (equivalent to 333 soccer fields), it will produce 963 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of power per year, capable of covering the electricity demand of 583,000 Mexican homes.
Given its renewable origin, this production will avoid the emission of 925,443 tons of CO2 to the atmosphere from coal-fired power stations, with a purifying effect on the atmosphere equivalent to more than 46 million trees.
An average of 500 people will work on the construction of the plant, and this figure will rise to 900 at times of peak activity. In the operational phase, the facility will provide permanent jobs for 38 people.