SOLAR-PHOTOVOLTAIC ENERGY

Solar-photovoltaic energy is one of the cleanest energy sources used in the world. It produces electricity from a renewable, emission-free source, which is solar radiation. Growing demand for renewable energies that avoid the emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases has encouraged the installation of solar power plants throughout the world. In 2007, total global installed capacity of solar energy (connected to the network) was 7.6 GW; by 2013, close to 140 GW of solar power was operating. In 2014, solar energy supplies close to 160 TWh, enough to meet the energy needs of more than 30 million households, or 9 percent of worldwide electricity demand.

A number of countries in the world are located in what is called the sun-belt, which is the zone of the planet that receives the highest amount of solar irradiation. In addition to certain common characteristics--densely populated, in the process of industrial development and economic growth, which means substantially higher energy demand--these countries share another quality: their photovoltaic solar potential, resulting from their climate conditions. And this means they have the capacity not only to supply their own region, but to export energy to other parts of the planet.

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According to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), there are 66 countries located in the sun-belt, and the top five in terms of solar energy potential are Australia, China, India, Mexico and Singapore. Countries located within 35 degrees latitude above or below the equator have the highest solar irradiation index.

Mexico is the most appealing investment opportunity of this type in Latin America. For this reason, solar power technology offers significant business opportunities, because right now just 9 percent of installed solar energy capacity in the world is located in countries in the sun-belt. In 2012, Mexico had installed solar power generating capacity of 53.6 MW, 2 percent of which was for public service and 98 percent for self-supply. With the additional capacity expected to be installed by 2018, total capacity will rise to 627.5 MW; 70 for public service and 30 percent for self-supply.

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