Chinese PV firm begins Latin American drive with $600m Mexican solar power plant

A Chinese solar power company has announced that it is to spend $600m on a 300MW photovoltaic solar power plant in the state of Durango, in north-west Mexico.

If it goes ahead, it will be the China’s largest single investment in Mexico. The company, Risen Solar, has been planning the project since 2011, when it began discussions with the Durango state government for a 200MW plant. 

Yuan Jianping, the company’s marketing director, said both sides had now signed letters of intent, and Risen Solar had opened a Mexican branch to manage the construction work. Yuan said building would start within two months of the final contract being signed, and if all went as planned the plant would be finished by the middle of next year and operational by the end of 2017.

He said: "The company is confident about the outlook for the Mexican solar market, and the state of Durango has the strongest solar irradiation in the world, with an average of seven hours a day. The state’s government is very supportive toward the project."

He added that Mexico would be the first stage in the company’s Latin American expansion strategy, and said Chile would be the next likely market.

Risen Solar is a public company based in the eastern Chinese city of Ninghai. It was founded in 2002 as a maker of lamps and evolved into a PV panel manufacturer. It now exports to more than 30 countries, including South Africa, North America and South-east Asia. Most of its projects in Europe have been scheme of less than 10MW, such as the one in Sardinia (pictured).

The website Mexican Business quoted Ildefonso Guajardo, the economy secretary, as saying he hoped Chinese companies would become one of the country’s leading sources of inward investment.

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