Solar panel fields forever, or so it might seem to anyone flying over northern Mexico these days. A nearly 3,000-acre solar farm now covers a wide swath of desert inside the Mexican state of Coahuila, just south of the Texas border. Passengers flying south from the United States witness the landscape fading from bright orange desert into the cool blue of reflective solar panels, in a field so large it nearly resembles a massive lake. The installation of 2.3 million solar panels is part of the country’s plan to become a bold leader in the global push for renewable energy.
With this development, known as the Villanueva power plant, Mexico now boasts the largest solar farm anywhere in Latin America. It also stands as the largest solar project anywhere on Earth outside of China and India. SBS News reported that the solar panels will produce 1,700 gigawatt-hours of power, or enough to light 1.3 million homes.
The panels, designed by Italian firm Enelare, are designed to follow the arc of the sun from east to west as it passes over the desert, optimizing their energy storage and allowing for increased power absorption on days with periods of cloud cover or inclement weather.
According to energy blog Renewables Now, the country’s Secretary of Energy Pedro Joaquin Coldwell aims for the country to generate 43 percent of its power through renewables by 2024. Mexico also hopes to cut their total carbon emissions in half by 2050. A program making it possible for private companies to produce, buy, and sell solar power on an open market is a big part of the plan to make this goal a reality, along with further development of solar farms across the sun-drenched country.