Sonnedix launches operations at 160MW solar PV plant in Chile

The Meseta de los Andes project in Chile. Credit: Sonnedix

Independent power producer (IPP) Sonnedix has launched operations at its 160MW Sonnedix Meseta de los Andes solar plant in central Chile.

The company began construction at the project, located around 50 kilometres north of the capital city Santiago, in June 2021, and completed work in April this year. The project was funded by a US$120 million investment from the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and Sonnedix expects the project to generate 386,750MWh of electricity in its first year of operation.

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“The construction of a project like Sonnedix Meseta de los Andes is testament to our strong ambition to become a key player in the energy transition in Chile, and worldwide,” said Sonnedix CEO Said Axel Thiemann. “This demonstrates our long-term commitment to the Chilean market, where we set foot eight years ago and we are now a main actor in its energy transition journey.”

Completion of work on the project is the latest step for the company in Chile, which now operates 35 projects in the country, with a combined 706MW of installed capacity. The scale of Sonnedix’s solar farms in the country has also grown considerably, from its first project in Chile, the 0.6MW Pica Pilot, which began operation in 2015, to the Meseta de los Andes project this week.

Sonnedix boasts an additional 1.6GW of solar capacity in projects in the development pipeline, and has recently expanded its reach beyond just solar power, with last year’s acquisition of IPP Arco adding 115MW of wind capacity to the company’s portfolio.

Managing both a portfolio of larger projects, and facilities which rely on different forms of power, will be a new challenge for the company’s leadership, but figures at Sonnedix have expressed optimism about the company’s future.

“I feel tremendously proud of our extraordinary team for this important milestone for our company,” said Sonnedix executive chairman Carlos Guinand of the Arco acquisition. “Since we began in Chile ten years ago, we have been deeply committed to helping the country to meet its renewable power targets, playing an active role in the energy transition.”

Solar production in Chile has grown steadily in recent years, but the country’s energy mix remains reliant on oil. Between 2016 to 2021, the total volume of solar power generated in Chile increased from 7TWh to 28TWh, compared to 203TWh in 2021 for oil. The news follows Blue Elephant’s acquisition of 120MW of solar power in Chile as both domestic and overseas investors look to increase their involvement in the sector.

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