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Building Latin America's Largest PV Plant

FOOTAGE of the largest photo-voltaic (PV) plant in Latin America - currently under construction in Villanueva, Mexico - has just been released by its contractor and future operator, Enel Green Power.

Above: The Villanueva Solar Power Plant is the largest of its kind in Latin America (image courtesy of Enel Green Power).

In another recently released video (below), Head of Disciplines, Engineering and Construction at the Italy-based Enel Green Power, Felice Montanari, explained how the construction process is being aided by the use of digital technologies.

Above: Felice Montanari explains the various digital pilots used on site at Villanueva (video courtesy of Enel Green Power).

Although Enel Green Energy has only dedicated a fraction of the site to test new construction techniques - 10MW of a 754MW power plant - this still amounts to almost 50 acres (20 hectares).

Here, construction workers have worked with GPS-controlled excavators and other ground moving equipment, allowing them to double their productivity and cut fuel consumption by 30%.

Above: Part of the site was prepared using GPS controlled equipments (image courtesy of Enel Green Power).

Other technology tested on site includes new equipment that dug channels, laid cables and refilled trenches in a single operation. According to Montanari, this increased productivity 8-10 times over.

Above: Laying cables is a Labour intensive task which can be done more efficiently using new, digitally enabled technology (image courtesy of Enel Green Power).

The use of digital technologies began at pre-construction stage with drones laser scanning the proposed site to create 3D topographic models.


A programme of up-skilling has helped designers and construction managers get to grips with the range of new technologies employed and to become familiar working with autonomous construction plant. 

Above: Work on the Villanueva site is set to complete in mid-2018 (image courtesy of Enel Green Power).

In a further exciting development - and although not yet tested in Mexico - Enel Green Power has partnered with Italy's premier robotics supplier Comau to develop and test robots that would be able to install solar panels autonomously.


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