Concentrating PV Comes to Sunny Mexico

Mexico is known for its sun, but until recently, more as a go-to location for snowbound Northerners than a hotbed of solar technology. But that may change, as Baja Sun Energy, the first integrated solar business in Mexico, has announced an agreement with Arima Solar on a manufacturing plant dedicated to turning out concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) system components.

This manufacturing plant, as well as a utility-sized solar generation facility (to be constructed with components produced at the plant), will all be located in the Silicon Border Cleantech Park in Mexicali, Mexico. This announcement comes as Baja Sun and Arima Solar complete agreements naming Arima as a stakeholder in this business as well as a supplier of CPV technology, gallium arsenide semiconductors and other materials to Baja Sun.

Concentrated Solar Power

image via Wikimedia Commons

The initial plans call for an investment of $500 million over the next four years, with the complete factory built out to over 100 MW annually, directly providing jobs to over 4,240 employees. No word yet on who has signed on the line to buy the power produced by the 10-megawatt solar plant, but Baja has named this entity “a top-tier customer.”

Baja Sun plans to break ground later this year on the new factory, which will be tricked out by Arima with a turnkey CPV manufacturing equipment line to manufacture cells, modules and dual axis tracking systems. Training on how to use this system is also part of the agreement, as Mexican employees will be trained in the Arima Eco factory in Taiwan. Ultimately, the total supply chain for the Mexican plant is expected to create more than 8,000 jobs for the Baja California-San Diego region.

Baja Sun Energy, as an “integrated Concentrated Photovoltaic Enterprise,” has its sights set on the burgeoning North American solar market, and has stated its intention to provide the lowest-cost solar energy solution on the continent. Governor Osuna of the state of Baja California applauded those ambitions, stating that Mexico, with its abundance of sun, has the potential to be one of the world’s largest players in solar power.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.