Social housing in Mexico with solar water heaters: Tecamac is a typical suburb of Mexico City, where inhabitants can purchase apartments at a reasonable price. Photo: GTZ Mexico
The solar action plan Procalsol in Mexico – launched in August 2007 – is yielding its first fruit. The annual installations increased by 60 % from 100,000 m2 collector area in 2006 to 160,000 m2 in 2007. Both figures include pool heating as well as domestic hot water. The public mortages bank Infonavit with its so-called Hipoteca Verde (green mortgages) plays an important role in this context. “This Hipotec Verde will have a high impact on the solar thermal market, because Infonavit finances a significant share of new houses which in total amount to 1 million units per year”, says Sebastian Hack, specialist for the promotion of renewable energies at the Mexican office of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ). Hipoteca Verde are additional credits of up to 16,000 Mexican Pesos (MXN) with attractive interest rates, which allow the borrower to invest in ecological technologies such as solar water heaters or energy-saving lamps. The big advantage: The investment costs of the solar water heater can be refinanced by savings on monthly energy bills over a longer period. “The loans are not subsidised, because solar water heaters make economic sense in Mexico anyway”, explains Hack. “A typical payback period is around four years”.
The Procalsol programme brought together the most important players in the country like the energy agency (CONAE), the energy association (ANES) and the GTZ. The aim is to speed up the solar thermal market and realize 1.8 million m2 of newly installed collectors from 2007 to 2012.
The manufacturers are feeling the growing demand in the market and are therefore expanding their production plants. The presumed market leader Modulo Solar has opened a second flat-plate collector production plant this year and aims for more than a tripling of its production output, from 20,000 m2 in 2007 to 72,000 m2 this year.
Mexico is also attracting international investors as well as importers. “The country is a growing economy with a huge population and a good raw material base”, says one potential investor from Chile who is thinking about opening a collector manufacturing plant in the North American country. Also, the Chinese producers are moving into the market. Their market share is estimated at 10 to 12 %, although the solar thermal market was still fully supplied by local manufacturers not very long ago.
Information for borrowers (in Spanish) www.infonavit.gob.mx/infonavit_ampliado/oferentes/vivienda_ecologica/viviendas_ecologicas_derechoabiente.shtml
Information for developers (in Spanish) www.infonavit.gob.mx/infonavit_ampliado/oferentes/vivienda_ecologica/viv...