Canadian Solar brings Argentina’s largest solar farm on line

Canadian Solar has switched on the 100MW Cafayete PV plant in the northern Argentine province of Salta, taking the country’s installed solar capacity to more than 400MW — from almost nothing two years ago.

The solar farm, which was contracted at the government’s regulated market tender in 2016, is now the largest of the 20 operational utility-scale PV plants in Argentina.

Since the country’s renewable energy programme, RenovAr, began in 2016, 1GW of wind and 400MW of solar have started operations — about a third of the total 4.2GW of wind and solar capacity contracted at the tenders in 2016 and 2017.

Argentina says it needs to build about 10GW to reach its target of 20% renewables in its power mix by 2025, up from under 2% when the programme started.

Cafayete is due to be overtaken by the 300MW Cauchari solar plant being built in Jujuy province, in Argentina’s northwest, by provincial power firm Jemse, in partnership with China’s Shanghai Electric and Power China.

Cafayete was acquired from Spanish engineering firm Isolux by Canadian Solar in 2018, giving it a foothold in the fast-growing renewable energy market. Isolux had won the 20-year, US dollar indexed 20-year PPA, selling solar power at $56/MWh.

“[The inauguration of Cafayete] once again underscores Canadian Solar’s success and leading position in the region,” said Canadian Solar chairman Shawn Qu. “In Latin America, we have been awarded over 1.6GW solar power projects across Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Chile.”

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