ColombiaOne.comColombia newsColombia Inaugurates the Country's Largest Solar Park

Colombia Inaugurates the Country’s Largest Solar Park

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Colombia solar park
Colombia inaugurates the country’s largest solar park. Credit: Ministry of Mines and Energy

Colombia recently launched its biggest solar park, spanning 387 hectares and filled with solar panels, in La Loma, Cesar department. This development is a key part of the energy shift that President Gustavo Petro’s government is championing. Enel Green Power started building the project in March 2021.

The park will deliver 420 GWh of clean and renewable energy per year for 20 years; with an investment of approximately US$126 million, the facility has a size equivalent of 552 soccer fields.

The largest in Colombia

This enormous project has an installed capacity of 187 megawatts in direct current (MWdc), thanks to the more than 400 thousand interconnected panels, including the electrical connection line to energize the connection bay at the La Loma substation, the transmission line and the transformer at the Matepalma substation.

The project has generated more than 1,700 jobs, 75% of which are located in the department of Cesar and 62% in the villages of Potrerillo and La Loma, where the park is located. It has also helped more than 2,500 individuals in various areas such as vocational training, community strengthening, beekeeping, and improving the quality of education.

Energy transition

The new solar park will benefit more than 600,000 people, avoiding the emission of approximately 200,000 tons of CO2. In this regard, President Petro made a defense of the energy transition, one of the most important points of his government agenda. “The rivers are drying up, the streams, the water sources are beginning to be lost for human life, for agriculture. This phenomenon has its roots precisely in the coal wagons that continually pass here, a few meters away,” said the Colombian president.

In his inauguration speech, the head of state pointed out that global warming “generates a drastic change in the water cycle on a planetary scale. The ice at the poles is melting from the snow-capped mountains. The Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta is running out of traditional ice. The tributaries is drying up and evaporate. There is a drastic change in the climate where, in the areas it did not rain, it now rains, and in the areas it rained a lot, it has stopped raining.”

On the importance of achieving a real energy transition in the country, the Colombian president explained that “the only way for human life and all life to be maintained on planet Earth is for us to build non-carbonized economies, that is, without coal, oil and gas.” In this regard, he guaranteed the total substitution of polluting forms of energy production in order to be able to speak of “a true energy transition“.

Call to abandon coal

The Colombian president called for the abandonment of coal, which he said has desertified the departments of La Guajira and Cesar. “The former coal workers could set up solar energy generation cooperatives in any part of Cesar,” Petro mentioned in his speech to the community.

Petro said that it was logical that the communities were afraid of abandoning coal, since it is a territory where the exploitation of this mineral has been an important source of work for its inhabitants for decades. However, the president said that the resignation of the Swiss multinational Prodeco in 2021 from continuing with the coal extraction contract was an opportunity for change.

“The wealth of the region, measured today by the extraction of coal with dollars that do not return to the area, can be converted into wealth for the nation and the region, for the same people, just by using the sun, if the communities do what Enel did,” the president said.


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