Italy-based Enel S.p.A. announced its Mexican renewable subsidiary Enel Green Power México (EGPM), has started breaking ground in the Northern state of Coahuila for what the company claims will be “the largest photovoltaic plant under construction in the Americas and Enel’s largest solar project worldwide”.
Enel will invest US$ 650 million to build the 754 MW Villanueva solar facility in the municipality of Viesca, 147 miles west of Saltillo, the state’s capital.
"The start of construction of this record-breaking plant is another major milestone for Enel” said Paolo Romanacci, Enel’s Head of Renewable Energies for Central America, at the breaking ground ceremony. “Mexico is a key country for Enel and we look forward to contributing further to the country’s growing electricity sector with the clean energy generated by Villanueva and the 530 MW of solar and wind projects we have under execution,” he added.
The project is being financed through the Group’s own resources.
Villanueva is owned by EGPM subsidiaries Villanueva Solar SA de CV and Parque Solar Villanueva Tres SA de CV and is composed by the 427 MW Villanueva 1 and the 327 MW Villanueva 2 parks, which are being built at the same time.
The overall 754 MW facility is expected to enter into service in the second half of 2018 and to generate over 1,700 GWh each year, equivalent to the energy consumption needs of over 1.3 million Mexican households, while avoiding the emission of more than 780,000 tons of CO2 in the atmosphere.
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In March 2016, in Mexico’s first long-term public tender since its energy reforms, Enel was awarded the right to sign 15-year energy supply and 20-year clean certificate supply contracts for around 1 GW of solar capacity with Villanueva 1 and Villanueva 3, as well as with the 238 MW Don José PV project. Enel was awarded more capacity than any other player taking part in the tender, confirming its position as the largest renewables operator in Mexico in terms of installed capacity.
In Mexico, Enel currently operates through EGPM 728 MW of renewables capacity, of which 675 MW come from wind power and 53 MW hydropower. EGPM recently started construction of the 200 MW Amistad wind farm, which is also located in Coahuila. The company is also set to begin construction of the Don José PV project in the State of Guanajuato and the 93 MW Salitrillos wind farm in the State of Tamaulipas.