The Central de Abasto wholesale market, in the east of Mexico City

Mexico’s plans for major urban solar farms

The Mexico City government is undertaking an ambitious new renewable energy project by constructing a major solar park alongside its main food market the Central de Abasto. It will be the biggest urban solar park in Mexico, and we believe it could lead the way for the development of similar projects across some of Mexico’s biggest cities.

Central de Abasto Solar Development

The Central de Abasto wholesale market, in the east of Mexico City, is where hundreds of thousands of vendors purchase their food to take back and sell at local markets. Over 30,000 tons of produce are sold at the market every day, fulfilling around 80% of consumption needs in the city’s metropolitan area. The decentralized market sits on farmland, outside of the busy city center, which we believe makes it perfectly situated to be powered by renewable sources.

In 2022, the Mexico City government announced that it would be constructing a major urban solar plant, known as the Ciudad Solar, on the roofs of the market halls. It will consist of 35,000 photovoltaic (PV) panels and will cost an estimated 400 million pesos, around $23.4 million. The solar park is expected to be around the size of 400 soccer fields.

The project, which launched in January and should be completed by late 2023, will provide 18 MW of electricity, equivalent to supplying 14,000 households with electricity each day. Upon completion, it will cover around 30% of the market’s high energy costs. Mexico’s electricity company CFE will install and operate the solar farm.

A Blueprint for Other Mexican Cities

We foresee the urban solar park as providing a blueprint for other Mexican cities to follow. The Ciudad Solar aligns with Mexico City’s green transition plans, and similar projects could help other cities fulfill their own climate pledges. The project is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 12,404 tons a year.

The Ministry of Economic Development (SEDECO) certified 1,000 specialized technicians to install the PV panels, as there were not previously enough fully trained technicians to support the project. The Ciudad Solar is more complex than traditional PV projects as the panels must be fitted on the waterproofed roofs of businesses.

The newly trained technicians can now support Mexico City’s climate change action program by installing PVs on public buildings and other installations. We also expect these experts to help develop urban solar parks in other cities, as state governments invest in new renewable energy projects to support the transition to green.

Our Outlook is Positive

We expect the construction of a massive urban solar park in Mexico City to not only help one of the country’s biggest food markets to go green but also to encourage other cities to develop similar projects. We believe this could be the first of many urban solar parks and other urban renewable energy projects across the country.