Enel Green Power Mexico inaugurates Villanueva, largest solar PV plant in the Americas

Published on Thursday, 22 March 2018

“The inauguration of Villanueva is a milestone for Enel Green Power and Mexico itself, as it is the first power plant to start operations after the country’s energy reform. We have taken a major step towards a more sustainable future for the country while consolidating our leadership in Mexico’s renewable market and once again delivering effectively on the projects awarded in renewable tenders.”

– Antonio Cammisecra, Head of Enel Green Power

The Enel Group is investing approximately 650 million US dollars in the construction of Villanueva. The solar facility, which comprises over 2.3 million solar panels across 2,400 hectares in the Mexican semiarid region, will be able to produce more than 1,700 GWh per year once fully operational in the second half of 2018.

The overall 754 MW plant is currently over 41% completed, equivalent to around 310 MW in operation, with Villanueva 1 producing energy from a portion of more than 120 MW and Villanueva 3, which started production in December 2017, now producing energy from a portion of over 190 MW.

“Villanueva is a pioneering construction site in which a pilot programme for the use of digital technologies and automation for the construction of solar photovoltaic projects has been implemented as part of Enel Green Power's global (R)Evolution project.”

The tests were performed across a 10 MW, 20-hectare area where automated machines guided by GPS were used to carry out earthworks and laying cables, which specifically allowed for the installation of cables eight times faster than manual installation, as well as reducing by 30% the gasoline consumption of the machines used.

In line with the Creating Shared Value (CSV) model adopted by Enel Group, which aims to combine business development and local community needs, EGPM has carried out initiatives in the surrounding areas of the plants to enable income generation for local stakeholders. These initiatives include the training programmes in local communities on how to make furniture from 2.6 tons of pallet wood and boxes used in Villanueva’s construction works. In addition, 600 additional hectares, complementary to the construction area, are being used for the relocation of specimens of local flora and fauna.

“As of today, more than 147,000 specimens of flora, such as various types of cacti, and more than 25,000 fauna, including frogs, snakes and lizards, have been relocated to the area. ”

The overall 754 MW Villanueva facility is supported by a contract allowing the sale of specified volumes of energy for 15 years and clean energy certificates for 20 years to Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (“Comisión Federal de Electricidad” in Spanish or “CFE”).

Enel Green Power Mexico is the largest renewable energy operator in the country in terms of installed capacity and project portfolio. The Company currently operates 728 MW, of which 675 MW come from wind and 53 MW from hydropower. In addition to the 754 MW Villanueva solar PV plant, the company is building the 200 MW Amistad wind farm, also in the State of Coahuila, the 238 MW Don José PV project in the State of Guanajuato and the 93 MW Salitrillos Wind Farm in the State of Tamaulipas.