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At the opening ceremony of a 1.4MW solar power plant in La Huayca in Chile’s Atacama Desert on October 3, Chile’s Ministry of Energy Jorge Bunster announced the creation of Explorador Solar, a public information platform which will be used to assess and evaluate the solar potential in the country.
During his speech, Bunster stressed the importance of developing such initiatives in order to boost the country’s usage of renewable energy which is in line with the government’s National Energy Strategy. He recognized the need to assess the viability of all renewable sources including solar and help prepare the country’s electrical system so that it is ready to incorporate renewable technologies.
Bunster also revealed that he believed that Chile has great potential in solar development. “Our country has unique conditions of solar radiation in the world and are of much higher quality those found in the main development centers worldwide such as southern Spain and Germany, which implies a great potential for use as an energy source.”
Recognizing this, Bunster said, “we have sought to create the conditions necessary for the development and utilization of this energy source."
In recent months, Chile has seen an increase in solar activities. As highlighted by Photon, it has received proposals for large-scale projects which have a combined capacity of 2.4GW, of which 900MW have already been granted environmental authorization. However, many of these projects are struggling to obtain financing.
Bunster also announced that the country’s first solar thermal plant will begin constructing in northern Chile in the coming months. It will be built in three stages. The first stage involves installing 1.4MW of PV capacity, the second stage will install 9MW and the third will generate 25MW. The project will house 150,000 PV panels.