Renovalia proposes 35MW plant in Chile’s sun-rich Atacama region

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Renovalia Chile plans to build a 35MW solar power station in the Atacama region of Chile, according to documents submitted to the region’s local authorities.

The Chilean arm of developer Renovalia, which was founded in Albacete, Spain, submitted a proposal to Chile’s Environmental Assessment Service (SEA) for the Cardones Solar Photovoltaic Plant I. Still pending approval from authorities, the plant will be built in two phases, 20MW for the first and 15MW for the second.

The Cardones plant will require US$65 million of investment, according to the document submitted to SEA. The start of construction is provisionally scheduled for October 2014 and the PV plant has an expected lifespan of 25 years.

The Atacama region of Chile enjoys levels of solar irradiance which are among the highest on the planet. In a section briefly detailing justification for the location of the plant, the proposal document refers to analysis which found the value of annual irradiation at the chosen site to be equivalent to 2,200 kWh per square metre.

Chile currently has a large pipeline of PV projects awaiting construction – a report by the country’s renewable energy research centre in December claimed that of over 5GW of approved projects, only 6.7MW had been built.

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