Sea of solar panels turns Mexican desert green

(Supplied)
(Supplied)

From a distance, it looks like a deep-blue sea has formed in the middle of the Mexican desert.

But this is no mirage – it's the largest solar park in Latin America.

With 2.3 million solar panels – covering the equivalent of 2 200 football fields in the arid northern state of Coahuila – the Villanueva power plant, built by Italian energy company Enel, is part of Mexico's push to generate 43% of its electricity from clean sources by 2024.

Arrayed across the sand in seemingly endless rows that stretch to the horizon, the solar panels are made to turn in tandem with the sun, like a giant field of shimmering metallic sunflowers.

The $650m project came online in December and is due to produce 1 700 gigawatt hours when fully operational later this year – enough to power 1.3 million homes.

Mexico won plaudits from environmentalists in 2015 when it became the first emerging country to announce its emissions reduction targets for the United Nations climate accord, ambitiously vowing to halve them by 2050.

To get there, it is tendering clean energy projects in which private companies produce, sell and purchase electricity on an open market.

The three projects tendered so far have generated an estimated $8.6bn in investment. The resulting electricity will power some 6.5 million homes, according to government figures.

The Villanueva plant is the largest solar project in the world outside China and India.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When a Covid-19 vaccine for under 16's becomes available, will you be taking your children to get it?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, immediately!
38% - 3987 votes
I'll wait to see how others respond
26% - 2722 votes
No, I don't think they need it
36% - 3852 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.29
(-0.52)
ZAR/GBP
21.24
(-0.12)
ZAR/EUR
18.29
(-0.11)
ZAR/AUD
11.81
(-0.08)
ZAR/JPY
0.14
(-0.10)
Gold
1700.44
(+0.04)
Silver
25.20
(+0.16)
Platinum
1128.01
(+0.31)
Brent Crude
69.67
(+3.93)
Palladium
2329.95
(+0.62)
All Share
68271.19
(+0.78)
Top 40
62788.64
(+0.87)
Financial 15
12759.80
(+0.67)
Industrial 25
87613.31
(-0.32)
Resource 10
70801.78
(+2.36)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo