MPC Energy Solutions and Akuo Energy target Colombia solar

By Dominic Ellis
MPC Energy Solutions and Akuo Energy start building $24 million solar PV project in Parque Solar Planeta Rica, Colombia

MPC Energy Solutions (MPCES) and Akuo Energy have started construction of Parque Solar Planeta Rica, a solar PV project in Colombia.

The $24 million project is a joint venture with Akuo Energy, a leading French developer and operator of renewable energy projects.

"The start of the construction of the Planeta Rica project in Colombia is another important step forward for MPC Energy Solutions, executing on our significant project pipeline as outlined at the time of our IPO in January. Our plan is to build up an operational portfolio as a leading independent power producer with a highly diversified portfolio and attractive rates of return. We are highly dedicated to Latin America, and Colombia is a particularly attractive market, having the strongest growth rate for renewable energy in the region," said Martin Vogt, CEO at MPC Energy Solutions.

MPCES and Akuo Energy are the equity sponsors with debt financing provided by Bancolombia. Financial close was achieved in early August. Bancolombia is the largest commercial bank in Colombia and one of the largest in Latin America as well as a leader in directing capital towards environmentally sustainable investments across the region.

The project will sell all generated electricity under a 15-year PPA to a leading regional utility with AAA (col) credit rating by Fitch Ratings.

Planeta Rica is the second Colombian project with a signed PPA within MPCES's portfolio following the Los Girasoles solar PV project earlier this year. The commercialisation of energy of both projects is fully aligned with the company's strategy to support the private sector and corporate clients with clean energy.

Energy production from the Planeta Rica project is expected to start in early Q3 2022 and the plant will have an installed capacity of 26.55MWp, delivering enough electricity to satisfy the energy needs of over 10,000 households.

During the construction phase, the plant will employ over 200 people with a requirement for a proportion of those workers to be female. When the plant is commissioned, it will avoid the emission of over 4,000 tons of CO2 each year and provide a sustainable source of clean electricity.

Vogt said Colombia has the potential to be a leader in clean energy, as it is rich in renewable energy sources and set ambitious transition targets.

"The Planeta Rica project will support the country's transition towards a low-carbon future and help boost its resilience," he added. "The increasing scale of our operations in Colombia also allows us to ensure that high-value skills learnt from the construction and operation of these cutting-edge facilities help to enhance the broader economic development of Colombia."

Ecopetrol Group - which recently recorded a Q2 net income of COP 6.8 trillion - has made 75% progress on the construction of the San Fernando solar park, expected to enter into modular operation (sequentially) in September, and is in advance talks in the assignment process under PPA strategies for solar energy projects for 45 MW in Huila, Middle Magdalena and Meta, for which bids are expected for August. It is also making progress in the structuring of the Rubiales solar park.

Celsia will multiply the unconventional renewable energy capacity in Colombia by 18 times this year: the company started in 2017 with 9.8MW in solar farms, and Celsia Solar El Carmelo with a capacity of 9.8 MWp was inaugurated in 2021 and Solar La Paila (13.27 MWp) will soon be inaugurated. An additional 140MWp is expected to be built before December.

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