Global utility-scale solar developer SunEdison’s 100MW Amanacer solar power plant in Chile has been inaugurated.
Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet attended a ceremony last week to mark the completion of the Amanecer project, which is said to be the largest PV power plant in Latin America.
Built in just six months, the plant has more than 310,000 photovoltaic modules spread over 280 hectares in Copiapo, in the Atacama Desert.
Amanecer is connected to Chile’s Central Interconnected System (SIC) and was built as part of an agreement with Chile’s largest steel mining company, CAP Group.
It is expected to produce 270GWh a year, generating 10% of the government’s 2014 renewable energy goal and the equivalent of 15% of the CAP Group's energy demand.
Investment of US$250 million was made for the project to be viable
Ahmad Chatila, president and CEO of SunEdison said the project was an important step in the international development of solar power. “This project has changed the course of renewable energy development not only in Chile and Latin America, but throughout the world. Amanecer Solar CAP has become a benchmark for SunEdison in how to develop photovoltaic solar energy on an international level.”
This plant is an “ideal way of diversifying the energy matrix in Chile, reducing costs and contributing towards meeting the demand for clean and sustainable energy”, added Jose Perez, president of SunEdison for Europe, Africa and Latin America. “This is just the starting point,” Perez said.
Operational PV capacity in Chile hit 173MW in April, according to the country’s Environmental Assessment Service (Servicio de Evaluación Ambiental SEIA).
Chile has previously had issues with its PV project pipeline, projects in its 5GW-plus pipeline have been slow to get built due to land, grid and financing issues, but recently construction and completed solar project rates have increased significantly, signalling a start to Chile realising its solar pipeline potential.