Harvard/IDB Infrastructure 360 Awards Case Study: AURA SOLAR I PHOTOVOLTAIC PLANT- MEXICO



This case study outlines the evaluation of the project Aura Solar I, a solar photovoltaic facility in La Paz, Mexico. The project is owned by Corporación Aura Solar, and is being developed by Gauss Energía, the largest photovoltaic plant in Mexico and the first one built as utility-scale. It is composed of a 100-hectares site with 132,000 polycrystalline photovoltaic single-axis panels, an administrative area, and an electrical substation. The project will be connected to the Mexican state-owned electric utility grid, the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), by a 2.9 km high tension cable of 115 kV. The plant will hold an installed capacity of 30 MW and will generate 81.5 GWh per year to the Olas Altas substation, the equivalent of powering 32,000 households, or 60% of La Paz. The project involves three phases: construction, operation, and dismantling, and has an expected lifespan of 25 years. Construction of the solar facility began in January 2013 and operations began in September 2013. The total project cost of US $100 million was funded with $25 million in equity from Corporación Aura Solar and $75 million in debt through loans from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Nacional Financiera of the Mexican Federal Government (NAFIN).


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