Clean Power

Published on May 28th, 2014 | by James Ayre


Construction Begins On 100 MW Of New Solar PV Power Plants In Chile

May 28th, 2014 by  

chile solar

Construction has now begun on the 60 MW Lalackama solar PV power plant and the 40 MW Chañares solar PV power plant in northern Chile, according to recent reports.

The projects — budgeted at $180 million — are being constructed by Italy-based Enel Green Power. Once completed, they will generate around 254 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year — enough to power up to 143,000 Chilean households.

The 60 MW Lalackama power plant — budgeted at $110 milllion — will be Enel’s largest solar PV installation once completed, generating up to 160 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year. That’s enough to power up to 90,000 or so Chilean households.

The 40 MW Chañares power plant — which will be located right next to the first PV plant that Enel constructed in the country, the 36 MW Diego de Almagro project — is budgeted to cost about $70 million to build. Once completed, it will generate up to 94 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year — essentially, enough to power 53,000 or so Chilean households. It’s currently expected to enter service sometimes towards the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015.

The two projects both have power supply contracts to sell the power generated on the regulated market — via a November tender auction held by Chile’s Central Interconnected System.

In related news — Enel just recently connected its first solar PV power plant in South Africa to the grid. The project in question, the 10 MW Upington plant in the province of Northern Cape, will produce around 20 million kilowatt-hours a year. The plant was approved and constructed as part of South Africa’s push to possess 3.7 GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2016.

Reegarding Chile, there’s been a lot of solar news lately. Unsubsidized solar is now competitive in Chile, and notable global leaders such as SunPower and First Solar are moving in and developing unsubsidized solar projects.

Image: Atacama Desert in Northern Chile via Shutterstock

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • Wayne Williamson

    Think about the pay back time.
    250 GWH is about 25 Million Dollars US a year(using 10 cents a kilowatt hour). So in 7 to 8 years this is completely paid off and providing essentially free energy for at least the next 20 or 30 years.

  • JamesWimberley

    The popular “number of households” metric is singularly inapposite here as these plants are in an uninhabited desert and designed to serve mines. Thereisn’t even a grid connection to the bits of Chile with people.
    It’s a big deal that these large plants are completely unsubsidised. Mining companies are unsentimental.

    • Matt

      Not to mention that #homes is meaningless since 1MWh equals a different #homes in every country.

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