Dr. Andreas Georgoulias
Research core team:
Cristina Contreras, ENV-SP
Hatzav Yoffe, ENV-SP
Case study written by:
Arianna Galan, MArch I 2015 candidate
Julie Mercier, MDes Risk & Resilience 2015 candidate
Judith Rodriguez, MAUD, MLA 2013
US $100 million total investment
131,800 one-axis tracked polycrystalline modules
82 GWh per year generation (60% of La Paz households)
Aura Solar I is Latin America’s largest photovoltaic energy project, the first utility-scale one in Mexico and is part of a larger initiative to develop utility-scale photovoltaic facilities across the country. It is located in La Paz, Baja California Sur, an area with high level of solar radiation, and holds 30 MW of installed capacity. The project has been operating since 2013 in a 100 hectares site with 132,000 polycrystalline photovoltaic single-axis panels, supported by an administrative area, and an electrical substation. The project’s site is located in farmland and is surrounded by a combination of industry, agriculture, and residential communities. It is connected to the Mexican state-owned electric utility grid through a 2.9 km long high-tension cable of 115 kV. At 81.5 GWh per year, the solar plant has the capacity to meet about 60% of La Paz population energy needs.
Corporación Aura Solar owns the project, which is being developed by Gauss Energía in three phases: construction, operation, and dismantling, with an expected lifespan of 25 years. The total project cost of US $100 million was funded with $25 million in equity from Corporación Aura Solar and $75 million in debt through loans from the International Finance Corporation and the Nacional Financiera of the Mexican Federal Government.