Granja Solar en Uruguay

Investors are competing for the chance to build solar farms like these in Uruguay (Photo: Seimens)

Uruguay opened a new chapter of renewable energy promotion this week, and foreign investors are jumping at the chance to bring their expertise and technology to the country’s nascent solar power sector.

On Monday, the state-owned power company, UTE, opened a request for proposals from investors interested in building solar farms in Uruguay, and offers for 83% of the total capacity were submitted in just three days. The solar framework allows for the creation of 200 megawatts (MW), and four proposals have been received totaling 166 MW. 

The winning proposals will receive concessions up to 30 years, and those companies can achieve higher ROI if the farms are built quickly. Uruguay will pay $86.6 per MWh for those farms completed between June 1, 2014 and June 1, 2015, while those farms completed before June 1, 2014 will earn $91.5 per MWh.

El Observador says solar investors typically need to purchase 2 hectares of land for each MW of installed photovoltaic panels, while the overall cost for each MW is between US$1.3 and $1.5 million. The four proposals received this week range from 16MW to 50MW, and the total investment of all four proposals is estimated to be US$249 million. New proposals can be submitted until Monday, September 2. (Full Story in Spanish)