The Institute of the Americas (IOA), the State of Jalisco Energy Agency, and the US Commercial Service held a Renewable Energy Jalisco (REJ) – Outlook for Project Opportunities and Partnerships event to promote the development of renewable energy in the Mexican state of Jalisco. Since then, several solar energy projects have been developed, increasing Jalisco’s renewable energy capacity, and signaling the openness of the state to an eventual green transition.
The Potential for Leadership in Renewable Energy
Jalisco is situated on the Pacific Coast of Mexico and is well known for its strong agricultural industry and business landscape – centered around the capital city of Guadalajara. The state has a population of over 8.3 million and an annual GDP of $70 billion, having expanded its urban area significantly in recent decades. While this growth has spurred economic development, it has also harmed the environment, which has made the state government take climate change action more seriously in recent years.
We expect Jalisco to become a regional leader in green energy and environmental action, having already introduced schemes such as the Low Carbon State Program, which encourages reduced fossil fuel consumption and the development of renewable energy operations.
The state also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the California Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission (CEC) in 2016 to cooperate on clean energy policies and programs. In addition, the REJ event helped foster relations between state actors and foreign companies and organizations to accelerate green energy projects in the region.
Partnerships Provide Growth for the Future
The state government launched the State of Jalisco Energy Agency in 2016 to drive climate action forward. Within the first two years of its establishment, Jalisco attracted around $1 billion in renewable energy funding, contributing to the electrification of 3 million residential buildings, a reduction in gasoline use – by approximately 200 million gallons, and the cutting of around 1.8 million tons of CO2. We believe that the Energy Agency will help stimulate further climate action and facilitate partnerships to grow the state’s renewable energy capacity.
More recent advances include the announcement by Chinese firm Solarever in September that it will be investing $1 billion in the development of an industrial park in Jalisco to develop key solar panel elements including modules, solar cells, batteries, aluminum, and glass. The park will be located around an hour outside of Guadalajara and will span 10 ha. Solarever aims to expand the park to produce and assemble electric vehicles (EVs) within five years.
Also in 2022, Zuma Energía acquired the Jalisco-based 296-MW Potrero Solar Park. The park commenced operations in 2020 under Fotowatio Renewable Ventures. The addition of the solar park to its portfolio brings Zuma’s renewable energy generation in Mexico to 1 GW.
Through its collaboration with the CEC and with investment from private companies, we expect Jalisco’s renewable energy capacity to increase significantly over the next decade. Future aims for Jalisco include the development of a new light rail network, the introduction of EVs into the public transport fleet, and the expansion of solar farms in coastal areas. We also expect to see more renewable energy partnerships between local and international research facilities, and the construction of energy storage infrastructure.
Our Outlook Remains Positive
Thanks to several successful climate action policies, Jalisco has begun to establish its place in the green transition. We believe that with support from the Jalisco Energy Agency and foreign actors, Jalisco will become a regional green energy hub within the next decade, providing the necessary framework for other states to follow.