This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 8/3/2017
Overview
El Salvador does not have the natural resources of its neighbors and imports roughly 30% of the country’s fuel requirements for electrical production. Therefore the Salvadoran government wants to expand the country’s natural resource capacity in order to decrease fossil fuel dependency. In 2007, the Salvadoran government passed Decree 462 which grants tax breaks to companies who develop renewable energy projects and 10 years of import tax exemption to machines and equipment. In addition, the Salvadoran Government released their 2010-2024 National Policy and hopes to modernize and expand the country’s natural resource capabilities in order to increase the contribution of these energy sources to the national energy supply. 

Private sector companies, NGOs, and regional banks develop relationships with Salvadoran counterparts such as General Superintendent for Electricity and Telecommunication (SIGET), Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) and National Energy Council (CNE) to create solar, hydroelectric, wind, thermal and biomass energy projects, especially in the areas of Acajutla and La Paz. To date the country has developed hydroelectric and geothermal capabilities with an installed capacity of 487 MW in hydroelectric power and 204.4 MW in geothermal. The country has a potential increased capacity of 3,049 MW in the combined sectors. In addition, the government is in the process of attracting private sector companies for solar, biomass and wind capacities.
 
Sub-Sector Best Prospects
The government is receptive to expanding this sector and El Salvador contains vast water reserves and receives large amounts of sunlight. Therefore biomass, wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal energy opportunities exist in the country.  In order to facilitate the projects organizations such as: The Inter-American Development Bank, USAID and OPIC fund major energy projects with in the country.

Biomass:
There are three biomass plants in El Salvador. The plants include: CASSA, El Ángel and La Cabaña. In 2011, the plants produced 109.5 MW. In addition the country is developing hydro-electric power from biogas found in landfills. The Nejapa landfill receives the solid waste from San Salvador with a total installed capacity of 6.3 MW, there is a potential to increase the capacity up to 10 MW. 
 
El Salvador has created projects in anaerobic bio digestion as an alternative to the traditional practices of removing organic wastes. There are 3 installed systems including: Granja de los Hermanos Jovel (717 m3), Avícola Campestre (6,600 m3), Agroindustrias San Julián (1,200 m3). 
 
 
Wind:
Due to the country’s location on the Pacific Ocean, El Salvador receives strong winds in various areas of the country. Twelve locations with winds reaching higher than 700 W/m2 to 50 meters above the ground level were selected as potential sites for wind farms.

For a complete List of Wind Farm Locations
 
Solar:
The central region of El Salvador receives a high level of solar radiation (5.3 kWh/m2/day). Therefore photovoltaic systems are an opportunity to take advantage of the country’s vast solar resources. Most solar panels are installed in government buildings, schools and universities. The largest photovoltaic system is 99 kW. Currently there are 14 solar panel systems installed in El Salvador which totals 344.86 KW.

Hydroelectric: 
There are 4 hydroelectric dams located in the Lempa River. The following plants include: Guajayo (19.8 MW), Cerrón Grade (172.8), 5 de Noviembre (99.4 MW), 15 de Septiembre (180 MW). These plants are overseen by the Río Lempa hydroelectricity Board (CEL). As of 2012, the country has a total of 20 power plants with an installed capacity of 487 MW. According to the Master Plan by the government, 18 sites were identified with the potential for capacities greater than 20 MW and 209 sites with capacities less than 20 MW. The total potential of hydroelectric power in El Salvador is 2,258 MW. Unfortunately, hydroelectric energy is only obtainable during the rainy season (May-October).
For more information regarding the Salvadoran government's Renewable energy Master Plan
 
Geothermal:
El Salvador has the highest level of geothermal production in Central America. As of 2012 the country has an installed capacity of 204.4 MW within two geothermal installations. A study was completed and found there are 12 geothermal areas in El Salvador with underground temperatures estimated above 150 ° C (high enthalpy), as well as 12 geothermal areas with underground temperatures that are estimated between 90 to 150 ° C (low enthalpy). The geothermal potential in both categories equals 791 MW in total and increases the potential capacity by 25.8%.

Potential Renewable Energy Projects companies can gain more information:
Biomass:
  • Estiercol de Ganado (84 MW)
  • Estiercol de Cerdos (2 MW)
  • Estiércol de Aves de corral (96 MW)
Wind
  • Metapán (42MW)
  • San Julián (30MW)
Solar Energy
  • Solar Fotovoltaica (17.8 MW)
  • Solar Térmica Concentrada (85 MW)
Hydroelectric
  • El Chaparral (66 MW)
  • Extension of 5 November (80 MW)
  • Cimarron (262 MW)
Opportunities
The Government of El Salvador is actively looking to attract investors to expand the country’s renewable energy capacity. The country provides U.S. companies with numerous opportunities in the renewable energy sectors, with needs ranging from technology to equipment procurement to consultancy services. The Salvadoran market is open for solar cells and panels, wind turbines and blades, generators, support structures, hydroelectric power stations. Tenders can be found on the Ministry of Energy’s website.  

Associations:
Association of Renewable Energy
Salvadoran Industrial Industry

Web Resources
Commercial Service Specialist  Contact in El Salvador: Maria.Rivera@trade.gov
 

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El Salvador Renewable Energy