Mexican Government Goes after Solar Panel Energy Production

Photo: Zbynek Burival/Unsplash


As an extension of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) controversial efforts to prioritize state-run, fossil-based fuel sources over clean alternatives, the government’s Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) announced Thursday, Nov. 10, that is would immediately begin implementing restrictions on solar panel energy production.

The CRE, whose commissioners are assigned by the federal government, said in a press release that it will issue regulations that would affect the profitability of installing photovoltaic cells in companies that generate more than 25 kilowatts of power.

According to a preliminary project presented in the National Commission for Regulatory Improvement (Conamer), the CRE proposed the change of regulation.

The affected companies represent 36 percent of distributed generation, which are those installations for onsite consumption that produce up to 500 kilowatts.

Contrary to the international trend of favoring the generation and savings with the use of clean energy, experts have warned that the changes promoted by the CRE would curb investment in this type of solar energy.

The new CRE regulations will eliminate the annual accumulation in the so-called “measurement netting.”

Due to the fact that the generation of solar energy often does not coincide with consumption, residences or companies have been able accumulate the electricity they generate with their panels for up to 12 months.

“This makes it possible to balance generation and consumption over a long period of time,” explained one expert who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

But that scheme will now be prohibited with the new provisions of the CRE that require the liquidate this “netting” every month.

“At the end of each month, the state-run Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) will pay the user for the additional electricity generated and not consumed,” warned the specialist.

And the payment is based on whatever rate the CFE wants to pay, usually less than one peso per kilowatt hour.

Meanwhile, companies or individuals who purchase their electricity from the CFE, pay, on average, a rate of 2.5 to 3 pesos per kilowatt hour.

Under the new ruling, the CFE will now pay a maximum of .8 pesos per kilowatt hour to independent producers.

“This means that the use of solar panels will simply no longer be profitable,” warned the specialist.

In addition to this, industrial users will have to pay added taxes for any excess energy they produce.

Other planned changes will also affect panel users.

For example, the CRE will limit low-voltage residential solar panel installations to 10 kilowatts, so that most private homes will not be able to fully cover their energy consumption.

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