Uruguay’s first large-scale solar farm was just announced yesterday providing more evidence of the country’s ambitious plans for diversification of the energy matrix and the rapid incorporation of renewable energies like solar, wind and biomass.

The national power company, UTE, signed a agreement to purchase energy for 30 years from the solar farm being built in Salto by Madrid-based Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV). The Uruguay solar farm project will be 5-10x larger than any single solar farm the company operates currently in Spain.

The La Jacinta solar farm will require an investment of US$100 million and will occupy over 150 hectares (370 acres) of farmland in the northwestern Uruguay Department of Salto. La Jacinta will have a peak capacity of 75 megawatts with the capability of supplying power to over 30,000 households.

UTE President Gonzalo Casaravilla says, even though photovoltaic energy is not as competitive as wind energy, the advantage of solar farms is the correlation of their peak generation with peak consumer demand especially during the summer months.

La Jacinta is expected to begin dumping energy into the UTE grid next March which is one year earlier than Uruguay expected to have any large-scale solar farms up and running. One of the country’s stated Energy Policy goals is to have native renewable energy sources comprise 50% of the total primary energy matrix by 2015. (Full Story in Spanish)

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