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18 September 2019

One of the world’s largest bifacial solar PV project commences construction, Mexico

The Potrero Solar photovoltaic (PV) power project in Jalisco, Mexico, has commenced construction after successfully reaching financial close. Mott MacDonald is lenders’ technical advisor to the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Banco Nacional de Comercio Exterior (Bancomext) on the project, which is being developed by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV).

Potrero Solar will use bifacial PV modules, a commercially new technology. Bifacial modules have the ability to capture sunlight from both the front and rear sides, resulting in higher yields when compared to conventional PV modules. The plant’s generating capacity will be 296MWp (front side), making it one of the world’s largest bifacial PV projects to secure financing, and one of the largest merchant PV projects worldwide. Once connected to the grid, the facilities will be capable of producing over 700,000MWh of clean, renewable energy each year – enough to provide power to more than 350,000 households.

As lenders’ technical advisor, Mott MacDonald undertook a full review of the envisaged technologies and plant design, as well as providing technical inputs during the contract negotiations. A key aspect associated to the project’s bankability was the energy yield assessment, for which the consultancy applied its in-house methodology for bifacial systems that uses a 3D ray tracing software.

Ioannis Stylianou, Mott MacDonald’s project manager, said: “We are delighted that our work has helped Potrero reach financial close. This flagship project will lead the way for other large-scale bifacial PV projects. We look forward to continuing to support the lenders during the construction of the plant and subsequent operations.”

Construction on the PV plant commenced in late May 2019 with the project expected to reach completion in June 2020. Potrero Solar is a merchant project and hence the electricity generated as well as the associated clean energy certificates will be traded at Mexico’s energy market.

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