Mexican opposition party offers free solar panels for housing


Solar panels are seen on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico April 20, 2022. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

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MEXICO CITY, May 1 (Reuters) – Mexico’s largest opposition party on Sunday offered to install solar panels on residential homes for free, highlighting its renewable energy credentials as it seeks to challenge the ruling party of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Marko Cortes, leader of the center-right National Action Party (PAN), said the plan was to ask the state power company Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) and the government to install panels free to all households, “starting with the poorest”.

“People would pay nothing, or pay a lot less for their electricity bill,” Cortes said in a video on Twitter, urging the government to adopt the plan.

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Lopez Obrador, a popular president who has dominated Mexican politics since taking office in December 2018, suffered a setback in Congress last month when the opposition united to vote against a constitutional overhaul of the electricity market.

The presidential plan aimed to strengthen the control of the CFE on the market to the detriment of private companies. This caused friction with investors in solar and wind power generation as well as manufacturers who had pledged to use more clean energy.

The PAN pitch comes ahead of six gubernatorial elections in June, and as the opposition begins to prepare for the 2024 elections, when Lopez Obrador’s successor will be chosen.

Cortes said the solar panels would be paid for by a grant currently going to CFE, and would be free for people in the lowest energy consumption bracket. The first phase of the initiative aimed to reach around 5 million households, he said.

Lopez Obrador, a left-wing resource nationalist, argues that previous governments have skewed the electricity market in favor of private capital at the expense of power companies and Mexican consumers.

Critics dispute this and argue that its policies violate Mexico’s international trade agreements and will cause more pollution due to the extent to which CFE depends on fossil fuels from the cash-strapped state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex). .

Opposition politicians say government policies have left the door open for them to advocate for renewable energy and, with it, increased business investment in Mexico.

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Reporting by Dave Graham Editing by Marguerita Choy

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