ACCIONA and TUTO ENERGY (BIOFIELDS Group), owners of the Puerto Libertad photovoltaic complex in Sonora (Mexico) with a 50% stake each, have signed a financing agreement for the 404-MWp plant with four banks –North American Development Bank (NADB), Banco Nacional de Obras y Servicios of Mexico (BANOBRAS), Instituto de Crédito Oficial of Spain (ICO) and Banco SABADELL– for a maximum $US 264 million (226 million euros at current exchange rates). The plant is being financed on an equal basis among the four entities in the project finance modality, with a repayment term of 18 years.
Construction work on the complex, one of the biggest in Latin America, began in February this year and it is expected to be fully operational in the first trimester of 2019.
“We are very pleased to have signed this finance agreement, which shows the confidence of the financial entities in our ability to complete and manage such an ambitious renewable project as this one, the biggest ever materialized by ACCIONA Energía”, says ACCIONA Energía Mexico CEO Miguel Angel Alonso.
For his part, Roberto Giesemann, CEO of TUTO ENERGY and the BIOFIELDS Group, points out that “signing off this investment strengthens the group’s strategy of consolidating itself as a benchmark in sustainable activities in Mexico that create economic, social and environmental value”.
Alex Hinojosa, Director-General of the North American Development Bank (NADB), adds: “we are pleased to have participated in the financing for this solar project, one of the biggest in Latin America, and we hope it will be an example for other companies that wish to take advantage of the considerable solar potential of Sonora within the framework of the energy reforms taking place in Mexico”.
Part of the production from Puerto Libertad (229 MWp) will cover supplies to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) amounting to 478.3 GWh of electric power and the corresponding clean energy certificates awarded to the project consortium in the second long-term electricity supply auction held in Mexico.
114 MWp will be used to service a private electricity purchase-and-sale contract, and the remaining 61 MWp will be allocated to marketing energy in the wholesale electricity market.
The Puerto Libertad plant will be equipped with 1,222,800 polycrystalline silicon panels mounted on horizontal tracking structures.
With a total solar capture surface area of 2.4 km2 (equivalent to 333 soccer fields), it will produce 963 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of power per year, capable of covering the electricity demand of 583,000 Mexican homes.
Given its renewable origin, this production will avoid the emission of 925,443 tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere from coal-fired power stations, with a purifying effect on the atmosphere equivalent to more than 46 million trees.
An average of 500 people will work on the construction of the plant, and this figure will rise to 900 at times of peak activity. In the operational phase, the facility will provide stable employment for 38 people.
Photo Caption 1: The financing agreement has been signed with four banks
Photo Caption 2: From left to right, ACCIONA Energía Mexico CEO, Miguel Ángel Alonso, and TUTO ENERGY and BIOFIELDS Group CEO, Roberto Giesemann, after signing the agreement.