The government of Uruguay will celebrate the country’s first solar power plant at an inauguration ceremony due to be held later today.

Owned by Uruguay’s energy regulator Dirección Nacional de Energia (DNE), the 481kWp installation has been constructed alongside the Salto Grande hydroelectric dam near the border with Argentina.

The site was chosen for the project because the area receives high levels of sunshine which are comparable to irradiance levels in Andalucia, Spain, the government said. In addition, the project has been built within a park that is guarded, thus preventing vandalism.

The US$4 million PV system is equipped with 2,240 modules and two 250kw inverters. DNE will be responsible for providing operation and maintenance services for a period of 10 years.

Electricity generated from the facility will be fed into the national grid and will be enough to power 200 homes.

The facility was financed by a donation of US$7 million from the Government of Japan. The remaining US$3 million has already been earmarked for a second PV plant for a holiday park located in Minas de Corrales and owned by Uruguay’s state-owned power company UTE and state-owned telecommunications company ANTEL.

The solar park has helped the country to further diversify its energy mix. The government of Uruguay has already made investments in wind power, hydroelectric power and biomass systems.