Central America is ripe for solar development, according to a new report released this week by GTM Research: All seven countries in the region enjoy significant solar resources and nearly all are primarily reliant on fuel oil, diesel and hydroelectric resources. With limited domestic fossil fuel resources, electric generation is typically very expensive in many of the region's markets. Despite these similarities, however, differences in electricity market structure, available incentives, and local economies significantly affect whether PV is a tenable option for consumers of all types – residential, commercial, and utility – and if it is realistic to expect solar market growth in the near future. The report provides details on solar PV market activity and potential in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.
With the aim of developing clean energy and energy efficiency markets at the MSME level (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) is organizing a green business award to be presented during the Foromic opening ceremony (here is a more detailed description of the award (in English and Spanish) and online application.) The Foromic is the largest microfinance and MSME entrepreneurship event in the region and is organized by the MIF on an annual basis. This year the event will take place in Guadalajara, Mexico from September 30th-October 2nd (www.foromic.org). This year, MIF will specifically recognize an exceptional green business in the region with an award during this ceremony. Aside from receiving the prestigious award “Best Green Business in Latin America and the Caribbean”, the winning organization will receive technical assistance (value: US$20,000) to further improve its organizational performance, to increase its revenues and to plan and implement future organizational strategies. This is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness on existing initiatives and to fuel more interest in the MSME role in developing clean energy and energy efficiency markets.
Wind and solar are among the sources eligible to take part in the "A-3" power tender scheduled for October 25, 2013 [UPDATE: November 18, 2013] – alongside large- and small-hydro projects, and gas-fired and biomass plants, according to multiple news reports. It is unclear whether the generation sources will compete with each other or be separated into individual contests. This will be the first time that solar projects will compete in a national public tender. Only projects of more than 5MW are allowed to participate, according to Recharge. Official notices (in Portuguese) here.
Power generation from renewable sources worldwide will exceed that from gas and be twice that from nuclear by 2016, according to the International Energy Agency's (IEA) second annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report (MTRMR).
Despite a difficult economic context, renewable power is expected to increase by 40% in the next five years. The share of non-hydro sources such as wind, solar, bioenergy and geothermal in total power generation will double, reaching 8% by 2018, up from 4% in 2011 and just 2% in 2006.
In statements at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum in New York last week, IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven warned that “policy uncertainty is public enemy number one” for investors: “Many renewables no longer require high economic incentives. But they do still need long-term policies that provide a predictable and reliable market and regulatory framework compatible with societal goals,” she stated. “And worldwide subsidies for fossil fuels remain six times higher than economic incentives for renewables.”
The report shows that renewables are becoming cost-competitive in a wider set of circumstances. For example, wind competes well with new fossil-fuel power plants in several markets, including Brazil, Turkey and New Zealand. Solar is attractive in markets with high peak prices for electricity, for instance, those resulting from oil-fired generation. Decentralised solar photovoltaic generation costs can be lower than retail electricity prices in a number of countries.