The city of La Paz, Mexico, is soon going to be powered 100% by solar energy… really. It already has a 39 megawatt solar power in place, Aura Solar I. And at the moment Grupotec is building another solar power plant that will also include battery storage.
Construction on the new solar power plant, Grupotec I, began this month. It will include 97,000 solar panels on 44 acres, with an investment of $80 million. It will have 30 megawatts of power capacity, and the battery storage facility will have 11 megawatts.
Grupotec I has a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Mexican utility CFE. The price will vary based on local node prices. This is the same sort of arrangement that Aura Solar I has — it was the first in the world known to have such an arrangement.
La Paz has a population of about 215,000 people, and Grupotec expects that the new solar power plant will produce about 40–42% of the city’s electricity demand.
Interestingly, the high cost of fossil fuels was a big part of the impetus for this city’s solar revolution. It is on an isolated grid (essentially an island), and was importing expensive fossil fuel for its electric production. The cost of such fuel is also quite volatile, bringing financial risk.
Congratulations to La Paz and whichever leaders pushed these solutions forward. We’ll see more and more stories like this in the years to come, but the early leaders certainly do deserve some praise.