The Colombian energy sector is turning to solar and other renewable energy to diversify its electricity matrix, which so far has relied mainly on hydroelectric power. Solarplaza’s new report for Colombia Energía magazine describes the current state of the Colombian solar market and its imminent opportunities.
In September 2018, the total installed power capacity of the National Interconnected System (SIN) of Colombia amounted to 16,918.33 MW, of which almost 70% came from small and large-scale hydroelectric plants. Compared to other countries in the region, such as Chile or Brazil, Colombia has been slower to adopt other sources of renewable generation apart from water, so this source of generation continues to dominate the Colombian energy sector.
When analyzing the installation and generation costs of renewables in Colombia, it can be concluded that hydroelectric power has the highest costs. Solar energy, on the other hand, turns out to be the cheapest source in terms of installation and generation costs, which shows that this renewable energy source is the most profitable in Colombia.
The country’s energy sector has received a lot of attention since the government announced the first large-scale renewable energy auction in January 2019. The Colombian Ministry of Mines and Energy intends to award around 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of capacity to Different types of renewable energy sources. The auction will offer 10-year PPA and has a COD deadline for December 2022.
At the moment, Colombia only has an estimated photovoltaic solar capacity of 20 MW, which will be complemented by the Celsia Solar Yumbo plant, which has a net installed capacity of 9.8 MW and began operating on September 3, 2018. In addition from Celsia Solar Yumbo, the company is working on the construction of three other projects, which could be connected to the network in 2019. The Colombian solar market has also been active in it and will build the largest solar project in the country, the solar power plant The Pass of 86.2 MW. The plant is scheduled to start operating before the end of 2018. If all these projects are launched on time, the capacity of solar energy in Colombia will increase significantly.
Until 2016, most of the country’s power generation projects were hydroelectric. Recent developments have resulted in a significant growth in the number of registered solar projects, from 268 in August 2017 to 387 in August 2018. It is expected that by the end of 2018, the capacity of registered solar projects could double the registered capacity in 2017. It is still necessary to see how the Colombian solar market will react to the planned energy auction for 2019, but numerous signs show that the country is committed to meeting its sustainable development goals, which would guarantee the country’s energy sustainability to Short and long term.