ecuador
Image: Ministerio de Energia

Ecuador is laying the foundation for 15% solar PV growth over the coming decade, data and analytics company GlobalData reports.

The country is currently taking its nascent steps into non-traditional renewable energies, particularly solar PV deployment. The 14.8MW Conolophus solar PV venture and the 200MW El Aromo PV plant, which will be the country’s largest, are set to come online in the coming years.

Projections indicate that annual installations should pick up the pace every year starting from 2023, rising to at least 250MW and potentially up to 450 MW by 2030, different scenarios indicate.

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“As of 2019, with an installed capacity of 26.7 MW solar PV formed a negligible portion of Ecuador’s capacity mix,” comments Somik Das, Senior Power Analyst at GlobalData.

“Going ahead, GlobalData notes that growth in solar capacity is anticipated to see an expansion, seeing cumulative installed capacity of more than 4GW by 2030.”

GlobalData points out that in the more pessimistic scenario, the growth of Ecuador’s solar segment over the decade sits at around 8-9%.

This scenario highlights an extremely shunted growth of the solar segment in the country, which would mean that the segment would be considerably smaller compared to the other technologies up to around mid-decade.

The Conolophus solar PV venture is expected to come online by 2023, although the official timeline is due to be announced in February 2021.

Beyond this, further capacity additions sit in the grey zone. If the authorities implement favourable policies, the growth of solar PV could be quite promising, GlobalData says.

However, COVID-19 has caused the pushback of deadlines for the El Aromo project and optimistically it could come online by 2025, although further delays may extend this by another year.

Ecuador’s power space has long been dominated by hydropower and oil-based generation. According to IRENA’s latest data (for 2017), almost 80% of the country’s energy supply was from oil and about 16% from renewables, with almost all of this from hydro supplemented with a small contribution from bioenergy.

While solar PV is a key area of Ecuador’s energy mix that has potential for growth, GlobalData anticipates that hydropower will account for more than 65% of the power supply in 2030. Oil-based generation will be in second place. Both the wind and biomass potential are limited, IRENA’s data indicates.