|Chinese photovoltaic manufacturer Yingli Green Energy announced this week that it supplied 1.1 megawatts’ worth of solar panels for a solar farm in Los Roques, Venezula, making the plant in question the largest in the country.
This marks a major change in Venezuela’s solar energy landscape, which until quite recently was comprised mostly of off-grid systems smaller than 25 kilowatts each.
The new hybrid solar-diesel plant, which began operating last month, can produce enough energy to power 400 typical Venezuelan homes each year. The expected output is over 1,400 megawatt-hours per year.
“We are pleased to partner with Yingli to bring green energy to the archipelago of Los Roques, a region that is known for its incredible natural beauty and biodiversity,” said Francisco Garcia, a project developer for Consorcio Energias Limpias Alternativas Venezolanas, which engineered and constructed the plant.
“We are honored to grow Yingli’s presence in the Venezuelan solar market by supplying the country’s largest project, and we look forward to expanding our footprint in the country,” commented Liansheng Miao, the chairman and chief executive officer of Yingli.
As Miao also pointed out in his statement, The nation is hoping to build more of these hybrid solar-diesel plants in order to increase the portion of Venezuela’s energy that is renewably produced and to make electricity more accessible in general, particularly in remote rural areas.
Although Venezuela is a major oil producer (which is why its economy has been hit so hard by recent decreases in global oil prices), it relies mostly on hydro-electric power domestically. Power outages are common, both in cities and in rural areas.
Numerous factors can affect both electricity supply and costs; according to the Edison Electric Institute, actually generating electricity now accounts for less than half of its price.
In April, a heat wave caused energy shortages and prompted rationing efforts, with the government even cutting working hours for public-sector employees in an attempt to keep the energy used for air conditioning to a minimum.