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Building renewable energy in Colombia and Panama

Good news from Solar 350 this week as NASDAQ listed Chinese renewables investors gave the “green light” for two of our 100MW solar development projects in the S. Atacama desert, Chile. (You can learn more about this project in detail in our EIS Investors section here). Never satisfied, Solar 350’s MD Nick Dimmock set off on a mini trade mission to explore further opportunities for building renewable energy in Colombia and Panama.

His visit was hot on the heels of Ken Clarke (former UK Chancellor and Justice Minister) who is very keen to help UK companies take advantage of these burgeoning opportunities. In these developing Latin American economies business is very much about building long standing relationships and it is this approach over a number of years that led to the good news from Chile this week.

Colombia has changed since Ken Clarke’s last visit some 23 years ago. It had issues with political instability in the ’80s & ’90s but is now economically and politically stable with low inflation (3.8%), steady growth (4.8%) and with the rule of law firmly established. The World Bank now ranks Columbia 34th in its “Doing Business” Index, ahead of Mexico, Brazil, Italy and Belgium. You will now find familiar names in Bogota, such as Ernst and Young and PWC, but the underlying opportunity is the need for scalable infrastructure development, and in the renewable energy field that’s exactly where Solar 350 is building vital relationships. Colombia’s finance minister Maurico Cardenas recently confirmed the key to growth lies in two things, infrastructure and peace, which combined could see sustainable economic growth of 7%.

It’s a similar story in Panama too, which backs-up recent global energy investor demand, reported in analysis from the International Development Bank. We are led by client demand for new, tax efficient solar opportunities that provide meaningful CO2e reductions and high returns from electricity prices. As a result, the green energy opportunity in the right South American markets is a key target. Solar 350 will continue to build these valuable emerging market relationships, just as we did in Chile where we now look forward to cementing our reputation for delivering smart renewable money projects.