LATIN AMERICA – The regions of Latin America and the Caribbean are proving to be a bastion for a solar energy market. Reduced costs of solar and wind technology as well as rising investment in the industry showcases growing green-energy possibilities.
In the ensuing year, Latin America is set to implement 724 mega watts worth of solar panels.
A study of 26 countries by Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) cites that $16.8 billion went towards clean energy investments in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC,) 6 percent of the world’s overall $268.7 investment in 2012. These figures, however, show a drop from 2011’s overall $302.3 billion but an increase in LAC’s 5.7 percent.
IDB notes an increase in green investments for several countries from 2011 to 2012: $9.2 billion in Brazil, $2.1 billion from $500 in Chile, $248 million from $47 million in the Dominican Republic, $118 million from $28 million in Uruguay.
ClearSky Advisors, a research and advisory firm for renewable energy market used three factors—solar insolation, the cost of electricity and photovoltaic markets (converting solar radiation into electricity)—in a recent report to highlight the top five LAC countries with growing green energy markets.
From the study, Brazil, Chile, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Peru rank as the top five.
The majority of the five nations have a mature solar market and strive towards increasing reliance on other renewable sources of energy as driven by the external factors affecting the country (high electricity costs for Mexico and droughts that affect its hydroelectricity in Chile.)
Peru and Mexico are attractive to foreign investment due to their economic stability and low investment risk whereas the Dominican Republic does not, citing political instability as one of its many risk factors.
The trend may be leading towards renewable energy that does not rely from foreign sources such as oil, coal and natural gas, as reported by International Business Times quote from Ethan Zindler of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Chile, in particular, is constructing the largest solar plant in the region, located in the world’s driest desert, Atacama Desert. The 110-megawatt producing plant is predicted to produce not only jobs but also to turn the South American country towards having 20 percent of its electricity from renewable energy.
Headed by Abengoa SA, the world’s biggest developer of solar-thermal plants is set to store 17.5 hours of heat without the presence of sunlight. The $1 billion project will draw $500 million in loans from international organizations and $20 million from the state.
With future plans set in the Latin American and Caribbean countries, renewable energy will take a leap in its inclusion in modern society.
– Miles Abadilla
Sources: Bloomberg, ClearSky Advisors, Forbes, Inter-American Development Bank, International Business Times, Renewable Energy World
Photo: Renewable Energy Focus