Image: Neoen

Capella Solar combining solar PV plus battery storage to provide electricity and power reserve to El Salvador’s grid has been officially opened.

The Capella Solar operation located in the Usulután department in El Salvador’s southeast – about 100km to the southeast of the capital San Salvador – is noteworthy for several reasons.

The 140MW solar PV operation comprised of the Albireo 1 and Albireo 2 plants is the country’s largest. With 20-year power purchase agreements with the local distributors AES, Delsur, Edesal and B&D concluded in 2017 at an average price of US$49.55/MWh, the facility supplies the cheapest energy into the Salvadorian market.

And the 3.2MW/2.2MWh lithium-ion Albireo Power Reserve battery storage which provides frequency regulation support to the grid is the largest system of its type to date in Central America.

Related articles:
Wärtsilä signs 15-year O&M agreement for El Salvador power plant
Mexico, Central America and Caribbean hit record wind capacity

“The Albireo solar park is part of the US$1.3 billion in investment in renewable energy that have been completed in the past 16 months and is a clear example of the confidence of national and international companies to invest in our country,” said Economy Minister María Luisa Hayem Brevé.

“This type of project generates employment, development and social wellbeing for Salvadorian families.”

The facility was developed by the French renewable power producer Neoen at a cost of more than US$133 million with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank and the Dutch and French Development Banks (FMO, PROPARCO).

The project, Neoen’s second in El Salvador consolidates the company’s presence as a long term investor in the Central American country, according to a statement.

“The Capella Solar project shows how competitive solar energy can be integrated with storage for the benefit of industry and consumers. We are committed to continue investing for the development of El Salvador,” said Neoen President and CEO Xavier Barbaro at the inauguration.

Capella Solar provides approximately 4% of the supply to El Salvador’s wholesale market. Together with the 101MW Providencia Solar project in La Paz department in the south of El Salvador which started operations in 2017, Neoen supplies 7% of the energy to the market.