Los Santos Solar I

As the second largest solar plant in Mexico, Los Santos Solar I is paving the way for a renewable energy transition in the country.
FACTS
Location

Chihuahua, Mexico

Technology

Solar

Attributes

Landmark project, Environmental impact, Local impact

Producing electricity since

2017

Developer/owner

Buenavista Renewables

Estimated annual generation

34.0 GWh

Total capacity

13.6 MWac / 15.82 MWdc

The first utility scale project of Buenavista, as well as the first in the state of Chihuahua, Los Santos Solar I is a landmark project in Mexico. As the second largest solar plant in Mexico, Los Santos Solar I is paving the way for a renewable energy transition in the country.

Close to the U.S.-Mexico border, the solar plant makes use of its arid and dry environment – being located in the Chihuahuan desert. The project is spread across 247 acres and is seen as a major development and advance in the state of Chihuahua and its efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change. Los Santos Solar I contributes to Mexico’s targets of having 50% of its electricity production coming from renewable, clean energy, by 2050, as well as its goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50%.

The solar plant helps reduce the demand for electricity generated by fossil fuel plants, and by being solar-powered, the plant displaces harmful emissions. The anticipated environmental outcomes from Los Santos Solar I in its first year of operation were the displacement of 16,509 metric tons/year of carbon dioxide, as well as 57.6 metric tons/year of nitrogen oxides. This compares to removing 3,476 vehicles or supplying electricity to 12,000 homes.

Chihuahua and Climate Change

Although the Chihuahuan desert is primarily dry and arid, it possesses a varied climate and geography, which is reflective of the state of Chihuahua as a whole. It is one of the most biologically diverse deserts in the world, boasting 3 000 plant species – including more than 500 of the world’s 1 500 species of cactus, over 110 types of native freshwater fish species, nesting sites and migratory habitats for more than 500 bird species, and North America’s largest colony of prairie dogs. However, the whole region is degraded and endangered by various threats, particularly climate change. This is a magnificent region in need of protection, support, and a commitment to combatting climate change. 

Renewable technologies such as solar power require no water for electricity production, in contrast to water-intensive fossil fuel generation. This is a huge advantage in the search for sustainability in the dry Chihuahuan desert, where water is a scarce commodity typically reserved for agriculture and the ranching industry. Suffering the consequences of climate change, vast tracts of land in the state of Chihuahua have been left barren and unusable. However, coupled with the extremely high solar exposure of the region, the land and Los Santos Solar I power plant come together to deliver clean energy to Mexico for the long term, while curbing the disastrous effects of climate change.

Gallery