Build-out of Chile’s solar pipeline gathers pace with 23.2MW online in April

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Operational PV capacity in Chile has now hit 173MW according to the country’s  Environmental Assessment Service (Servicio de Evaluación Ambiental SEIA).

This is an increase of 23.2MW in operational projects, compared to March, when there were 149.8MW solar projects reported as in operation and 225MW under construction.

The SEIA reported now just 170MW of solar is currently under construction, with 6.08GW of solar approved but yet to be built, and 3.86GW in the process for qualifying, as of April 2014. PV Tech has been unable clarify what has happened to the other 32MW of projects under construction the last time SEIA reported.

The numbers reflect industry insiders’ predictions that Chile is on the cusp of a solar boom as its solar project pipeline – that accounted for 57% of Chile’s renewable energy portfolio – finally gets built out after delays in construction, due to land, grid and financing issues.

Chile’s installed PV capacity reached the 102.6MW mark in February, with the addition of SunEdison’s near 100MW Amanecer project.

The new capacity installations mean PV now accounts for 12% of Chile’s total installed renewable energy capacity of 1,413MW. This in turn represents 7.3% of Chile’s total electrical generation capacity.

Chile’s renewable energy pipeline remains at 16.67GW, of which 65% is approved and 35% is still in the rating process.

In March, renewable energy generation totalled 429GWh, 7.5% of which came from solar, in February solar accounted for 0.63% (1.8 GWh) of renewable energy generation. In total solar represents 0.9% of Chile’s total electricity capacity.

The SEIA also reported the average cost per MW of energy for Chile’s central grid, the Central Interconnected System (CIS) was US$213.2 per MWh, a 55% increase from prices last month and the highest from since July 2013. This increase is due to thermal power stations affected by lower reservoirs, from low rainfall and thaws.

For the northern grid, Norte Grand Interconnected System (SING), the average cost was US$77 per MWh, a decrease of 22% due to the lower use of fossil fuels, including liquid natural gas.

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