According to GTM Research’s Q2 2015 Latin America PV Playbook, released today, 363 megawatts of newly operational capacity of utility-scale solar photovoltaics (PV) came on-line in the second quarter of this year. That’s up 80 percent year-over-year, and it's the largest quarter in the history of the Latin American market.

Honduras brought seven projects on-line and accounted for 307 megawatts of Latin America’s historic quarter. This was largely driven by the nation’s bonus tariff of 10 percent over the marginal grid cost for projects connected by the end of July.

With 29 megawatts, Latin America’s usually dominant Chile was the second-ranked market. Panama connected its largest plant to date and rounded out the top-three list with 12 megawatts; Brazil followed with 11 megawatts. The report notes that Venezuela and Antigua both connected their first utility-scale PV plants.

The second quarter of the year also set records for new construction starts, with 981 megawatts of PV project entering construction in Latin America. That’s up 61 percent over the second quarter of 2014. The majority of construction is in Chile; however, Mexico is home to 54 megawatts of projects under construction and Jamaica has 20 megawatts.

Utility-scale projects will make up 92 percent of Latin America’s forecasted 2.3 gigawatts of total solar installations this year. The report notes that the commercial and industrial segments are small, but there are interesting opportunities in the region to watch.

FIGURE: Share of Latin America PV Market by Segment, 2012-2020E

Source: GTM Research Latin America PV Playbook

“Commercial users tend to pay the highest retail electricity rates in almost every Latin American country,” says Senior Solar Analyst Adam James. “With its attractive prices and easier access to capital, the market will grow quickly from its small base today.”

By 2020, GTM Research expects Latin America to install a cumulative 2.6 gigawatts of commercial and industrial PV.

For more information, download the Latin America PV Playbook brochure and highlights from the quarter here.