Mexico City’s huge food market is ready to harness the sun’s rays for electricity

The vast fruit and vegetable market in Mexico’s capital, as the world’s largest urban solar farm, wants to stimulate a more environmentally friendly future. Thousands of solar panels will be installed on the infinite roof of the building this year.

The 400 million pesos ($ 1990 million) rooftop solar project covers a chaotic wholesale market serving 500,000 customers daily, spanning approximately 400 football fields.

When online later this year, the roof of the Central de Avast market will have enough power capacity of about 18 MW, or enough to supply about 14,000 homes, according to the capital’s Minister of Economic Development, Fadrala Akabani. Supply power.

The project is a rare green in the government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has primarily aimed to prioritize fossil fuel production and power generation through two state-owned energy giants, the state-owned oil company Pemex and the power company CFE. Shows the initiative.

However, CFE is designing solar equipment on the market and will operate it later.

For three years after taking office, Lopez Obrador has quarreled with a private company that has made a large investment in renewable energy in Mexico and has been pushing for reforms to cancel many existing private power projects.

“Development of large-scale (solar) projects has been put on hold for more than a year,” said Javier Romero of the Solar Energy Association ANES, which undermines the increased political risk and potential for private power generation. Pointed out a legal issue.

“Who invests without guarantee?”

According to industry data, solar contributed only about 5% of Mexico’s electricity generation last year.

However, Mexico’s share of solar power is higher than in the United States, which contributed nearly 3% last year, data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) show.

The EIA predicts that US solar power will grow to one-fifth of the country’s electricity by 2050, but Mexico’s state-run CFE has refused to provide its own estimates.

“It’s not a percentage, it’s planning our energy shift instead,” CFE spokesman Luis Bravo told Reuters.

Mexico’s past government has promised to reach 35% clean energy by 2024. This is up from 29%, which is currently fixed primarily by CFE hydropower and private wind farms. However, achieving that goal is seen by sector experts as almost impossible given the current trends.

Mexico City’s wholesale market constitutes one bright spot.

There are about 10,000 booths on the market, mainly selling fruits, vegetables and meat. One of them is run by Arturo Mesa, which was covered with piles of apples and lettuce on a recent visit.

Mesa hopes that the new solar panels will be able to reduce his electricity bill.

“I pay 5,000 pesos ($ 249) every month, which is too much,” he said.

Approximately 36,000 panels are set to cover the roof of the building, eventually producing far more power than the market consumes, and surplus power can be made available to other users. Highly likely, Jose Alberto Valdes, Chief Energy Officer of the City Government, said.

Valdes added that authorities are aiming to equip the rooftops of additional markets with solar panels, but provided no further details.

CFE Bravo said Lopez Obrador also wanted to boost solar power, pointing out the company’s industrial-scale $ 1.6 billion solar project in Sonora, northern Mexico.

The facility covers 2,000 hectares of tanned desert and is expected to have an annual power generation capacity of 1,000 MW.

However, it is not expected to be online until 2028.

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Romero of the Solar Energy Association argues that power generation projects in Sonora and Mexico City are terribly inadequate given the potential of Mexico.

“It’s peanuts,” he said. “These are not bragging numbers.”

($ 1 = 20.0961 Mexican pesos)

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