In addition to the new research GTM published on Latin America, the last two weeks have been an incredibly active period for the region. Central America played a starring role as Honduras and Guatemala combined to bring massive amounts of solar online, and El Salvador prepared to launch new auctions.
Mexico, Chile, and Brazil -- which GTM expects to be the largest markets over the next five years -- are laying the foundation for massive growth, all boasting new tender announcements. And don't miss my take on how this growth segues with SunEdison's emerging markets YieldCo.
Argentina readied itself to end rate freezes, creating what may be the best market opportunity for power generation investment in the country in 15 years. The country is pursuing solar power, but has primarily relied on municipal financing and initiatives to support development. Encouraging more private-sector involvement is essential for the market to grow.
What I'm reading
SolarCity entered Mexico through its acquisition of solar installer ILIOSS. You can read my take on what that means for Mexican PV and why SolarCity is taking on the commercial and industrial market. On large-scale development, Mexico is planning energy auctions for October to supply CFE, the former national utility. These auctions will be open to solar.
Central America had a huge quarter for PV development. Isolux Corsan completed the 61-megawatt Aura II project, developed by Gauss Energia in Honduras. Gauss also developed the Aura I project, which is the largest PV installation in Mexico.
In Guatemala, phase two of the Horus project came on-line, totaling 80 megawatts. El Salvador prepared for another energy auction, this time for 150 megawatts of solar and wind with a 2018 commissioning date.
Panama was in flux, with a request from the transmission authority to freeze new permits seemingly stopping the market -- until that request was denied by the regulator.
Pattern Energy began construction on the 122-megawatt Conejo project in Chile, its first project in the country. Isotron Chile also won the EPC contract for Solairedirect's 54-megawatt Los Loros project. Solairedirect was recently acquired by Engie for $222 million. SunPower announced an initiative to develop $1.5 billion in projects over the next five years in Chile which, under our forecast, represents about 30 percent market share.
Brazil announced its intent to tender 2 to 3 gigawatts of solar out to 2018. With pending changes to net metering and the passage of tax breaks, the 1-megawatt to 5-megawatt market segment in Brazil is also poised to take off. The 50-megawatt Kroma project, which cleared in the 2013 Pernambuco state solar auction, has finally secured a PPA.
In broader electricity market news for Brazil, the $5.1 billion bailout package was passed for utilities hit by rising prices from drought. This underlines the need for resource diversification in a country highly dependent on hydropower.
In secondary market news, Sojitz has bought a minority stake in 44 megawatts of solar in Peru. These were some of the first large-scale projects in the Latin America region, and they have 20-year PPAs.