A deal has been struck between Spanish solar developer Solarpack and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Institution Financière de Développment (PROPARCO), to finance two large-scale solar parks in Chile.
The agreement with the two development institutions is thought to be worth in excess of US$65 million.
The news follows reports that several other large-scale solar projects are planned in the country, with around US$1.1 billion of investment from China into the Chilean PV sector recently approved by the Chilean Foreign Investment Committee (CIEC).
The two power plants, the Pozo Almonte, which will be completed in October of this year, and Calama Solar 3, which became operational in April 2012, have capacities of 25.4MWp and 1.1MWp respectively. Chilean copper mining companies Codelco and Collohuasi will purchase the electricity generated by the plants.
The building of the Pozo Almonte and Calama Solar 3 plants for Solarpack is the first involvement of the Inter-American Development Bank in a private sector solar project and the nature of the project finance plan and the scale involved means it will also represent several other firsts in Chile.
It is the first solar power project in Chile to use project finance, as well as the first time PROPARCO, the French institution which promotes private investment in developing countries, has participated in project finance in Chile. PROPARCO have also made investments in solar electricity in Peru. Other development institutions including Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) of the USA and Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) are involved in Peruvian solar power.
In a press release, Solarpack chief operating officer Pablo Burgos said that “the recognition for our company in having the support of two such prestigious organisations further strengthens our commitment to stay in this part of the world".