Solar Industry Expands in Mexico

November 26th, 2010

24 Nov, 2010 19:50 CET

Mexico is one of the locations in the world that offers the best potential for the development of the solar industry in terms of its abundance of solar radiation.

U.S. companies such as SolFocus, a developer of concentrated solar systems based in Mountain View, CA sees strategic investment opportunities in Mexico and along the border. “We see it as a phenomenal opportunity,” says Nancy Hartsoch, V.P. of sales and marketing for SolFocus, which has a few arrays deployed in Mexico. While the Mexican government has yet to invest significant resources in renewable energy, Mexico has the capacity to become a leader in this area with the right incentives and investments.

Manufacturers of solar energy equipment are beginning to establish operations in Mexico, especially if the U.S. is a company’s target market. The Tijuana-San Diego Region is an optimal location to expand a company’s solar manufacturing capabilities. By virtue of its location next door to California which represents 75% of the PV Module Market and with solar radiation levels between 7.0 to 7.5 kwh/m2/day, the San Diego /Tijuana region offers great promise.

Tijuana is home to two of the largest PV companies in the world: KYOCERA from Japan, which is on the global top 10 lists of PV module manufacturers and U.S. based UNISOLAR, which is ranked among the top 3 competitors in thin film modules. Both KYOCERA and UNISOLAR have had operations in Tijuana since the 1990’s. According to Rodney Lanthorne, Director and Chairman of KYOCERA International, “operations in Tijuana gave us a great strategic advantage over our competition from China and Europe.”

The manufacturing of solar, wind and hydro energies components and systems is an excellent niche for Mexico. Manufacturing of energy-generating products are usually labor intensive with relatively low volume and a high product mix. Often times they are custom made. These characteristics make Mexico a great fit for solar manufacturing. It is also home to a young, educated and trainable workforce. Mexico has gone from a low cost qualified labor location to one that offers sophisticated and complete services.