Chile’s Ministry of Energy and government agency for entrepreneurship, COFO, has awarded a tender for South America’s first concentrated solar power (CSP) plant.

The tender for the 110MW molten salt power technology plant was awarded to sustainability technology developer, Abengoa.

The CSP plant will use molten salt power technology, allowing energy to be stored for up to 17.5 hours, without direct solar radiation.

A subsidy of US$20 million in government funding is being provided for the project, and access to US$500 million in additional funding from the IDB, Clean Technology Fund and the German development bank KfW and the European Union.

COFO and the ministry held a competition for the construction of the first floor of the tower, with Abengoa Solar winning over US company, Solar Reserve.

The project, named Cerro Dominador, will be built in María Elena, Antofagasta Region, with 10,600 mirrors arranged in a circle area of two and a half miles to shine sunlight onto a central tower 243 feet high.

The plant will be owned by Minera El Tesoro, part of the mining group Antofagasta Minerals, and will help meet Chile’s renewable energy ambitions for 20% renewable energy by 2020.

Minister of energy for Chile, Jorge Bunster Betteley, said the project "will allow the use of the natural resources we have and diversify the mix of electricity generation. We will allow greater energy independence and reduce emissions".

Executive vice president of CORFO, Hernán Cheyre, said: "Our government has strongly supported the development of renewable energy, so we are very pleased to announce the execution of this project that came in under the year of innovation. Chile is a country rich in this area and we must dare to innovate to make the most of it.”