World’s 1st Public Transport System To Run On Solar

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The Metro of Santiago, Chile, will be the first public transport system to run mostly on solar energy, after a new agreement signed with Total and SunPower this week.

According to an announcement from US solar manufacturer SunPower, in cooperation with Total, a global integrated energy producer and provider, the Metro of Santiago, Chile, has signed a power purchase agreement for the supply of 300 GWh annually of clean solar energy for its public transport network.

Chile President Michelle Bachelet at today's announcement by Total and SunPower to provide solar power for Metro de Santiago, the world's first metro to run on solar. (PRNewsFoto/SunPower Corp.)
Chile President Michelle Bachelet at the announcement

This should make the Metro of Santiago the world’s first public transport system to run mostly on solar energy, which is good news for the system’s 2.2 million daily passengers.

“SunPower is proud to serve Metro of Santiago’s growing energy demand with cost-competitive, renewable solar power,” said Eduardo Medina, executive vice president, global power plants, SunPower. “Solar is an ideal energy source for Chile because of the country’s high solar resource and transparent energy policies. In partnership with Total, SunPower is committed to the continued growth of our business in Chile.”

SunPower and Total will design and build the 100 MW El Pelícano Solar Project, located near the municipalities of La Higuera (Coquimbo Region) and Vallenar (Atacama Region), which is expected to begin construction this year, with operation expected by the end of 2017.

“This contract is expressing Chile’s commitment for a sustainable world,” added Bernard Clément, senior vice president of Business & Operations, of the New Energies division of Total. “We are proud to partner with Metro in developing a new way of powering public transportation systems through competitive, reliable and clean energy. This project supports our ambition to become the responsible energy major.”

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9 thoughts on “World’s 1st Public Transport System To Run On Solar

  • Also check the Dutch Rail, they will use Wind Power for all their trains in 2018. It is a partnership between NS and Eneco.

  • 100 MW this is not some kind of small project note.

  • They could put a solar canopy on top of over head wires on Light Rail, it would improve the appearance as well.

    • That might also cost a lot more.

      • Everything costs, the Light Rail was not free.

  • Say I like my eggs to come from free rang

    • What is your point? That it makes no sense to make a contract like this?

      It does make sense, because it enables more investment in e.g. solar power, and offsets power with the normal emission profile of the Chilean grid.

      If a power grid is operated with long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs), then it is absolutely necessary to strike a deal like this. On the other hand, if electricity is freely traded with a daily strike price, it does make less sense.

      The key issue is whether this deal was the enabler for the investment decision for the 100 MW solar plant.

      • His point was that they’re contracting to buy X GWh of “solar” power from a utility, even if the actual power they use was coal-power when it was used. The utility’s part of the agreement was that somehow they’d generate 300GWh of solar power during the contract period to offset the Metro’s power usage. It still ends up being an offset from traditional (dirty) generation to clean energy, just not from a dedicated solar array.

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