The giant Atacama Desert cradling solar panels is a beautiful image. Find the middle of Chile’s Atacama Desert and take a look — the largest solar PV plant in Latin America has come online. SunEdison has established the 100MW Amanecer solar power plant in this vast desert of Chili. The plant is projected to produce 270GWh of electricity per year. This means 125,000 homes will be able to count on solar energy.
José Pérez — SunEdison’s president for Europe, Africa, and Latin America– noted that Chile was becoming an important market for the company. “This plant demonstrates that photovoltaic solar energy is an ideal way of diversifying the energy matrix in Chile, reducing costs and contributing towards meeting the demand for clean and sustainable energy,” he added. “The 150MW+ interconnected by SunEdison in Chile is the starting point of our firm commitment to the future of energy consumption and the development of the energy industry in this country.”
Will Nichols for Business Green continues:
CAP Group, an iron and steel producer, has signed an offtake agreement for the power from the facility and says it should now meet 15 per cent of its energy demand using solar power, saving it 71 million litres of diesel a year. The plant is located 37 kilometres from Copiapó, a rich silver and copper mining district. More than 310,000 modules have been installed across the 280 hectare desert site, which is among the driest areas on Earth.
According to CAP, Amanecer will meet 10 per cent of the renewable energy generation capacity goal established by the Chilean government earlier this year.
As the upward spiral of solar and PV meets the demand for electricity in Latin America, Latin America is jumping into the new energy era. It is a hot solar market. Last year, what was then the largest ‘private’ solar project in Latin America was completed in Mexico. The solar power replaced an awful coal plant and was a good representation of the transition into renewable solutions from dirty energy. Not long after, solar panels were put on to roofs of 120 of Sorriana’s stores in Mexico. In this case above, the solar power projects were even competitive unsubsidized in any way and without putting a price on the pollution from the coal plants.
Another significant change in 2013 for Latin America was the launch of a Trees, Water and People subsidiary, focused on bringing more solar power to Latin America. The subsidiary, Luciérnaga, “distributes small (<15W) solar lighting technologies that afford-ably meet lighting and device charging needs for energy poor populations.”
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