Chile environment agency adds 392MW to national PV pipeline

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Two more large-scale PV plants, with a combined generation capacity of 392MW, have been approved for Chile by the country’s environmental authority.

Earlier this month the Chilean environmental assessment agency SEA presented two environmental impact statements, one for a 112MW solar farm and another of 280MW, indicating that both projects had been approved.

These two latest projects come off the back of several recent approvals and announcements of large scale solar plants, including one last week that will total 698MW – divided across 11 sub-projects – when completed.

The newly announced 112MW project, Llanta Solar Project, will be built in Chile’s Atacama Desert region, in the municipality of Diego de Almagro. The Atacama to the north of Chile will need little introduction to regular readers of PV Tech, feted for its rich solar irradiance levels with numerous large projects already built or approved in the area. Local developer MSN Solar 5 submitted the plans to SEA, and according to the environment agency’s documents, Llanta Solar Project will require around US$235.2 million of investment.

The other project to be approved, Alfa Solar, will also be located in the north of Chile, this time in the municipality of Maria Elena, in Antofagasto. Alfa Solar’s developer will also be a local company, renewable energy developer Pleiades New Energy Ventures. The 280MW project will require US$560 million of investment, according to the SEA document.

After a long period of Chile’s potential for solar development being talked up, the start of activity had been slow at the beginning of this year. Just 106.2MW was installed by February 2014, according to the Chilean Centre for Renewable Energy. Yet according to research firm IHS, the country’s project pipeline stood at 9GW by the beginning of September, with one company alone, investment firm Rijn Capital, holding a pipeline of over 500MW. Big global players such as SunEdison and Yingli Green are also now developing projects in Chile.

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