Bachelet inaugurates Latin America's largest photovoltaic plant

Jun 05, 2014 12:00 AM

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet inaugurated Thursday the US$250mm Amanecer Solar CAP photovoltaic (PV) plant, which with a generation capacity of 94 MW makes it the largest of its kind in Latin America.

"Without energy there's no growth, and neither [is there growth] without sustainability," she said, highlighting the plant's "socially accepted energy."

Amanecer Solar CAP puts Chile well on the way to meeting its 2014-15 goal of having 45% of new power projects coming from clean sources, and to having 20% of Chile's power generated by renewable by 2025, Bachelet added.

The PV plant was developed, built and interconnected to central Chile's power grid SIC by SunEdison under a power purchase agreement with Chilean steel company Grupo CAP. It will be capable of generating 270 GWh per year, and can cover the equivalent of 15% of CAP's power requirements, CAP president Roberto de Andraca said. The electricity will go to power operations at CAP's Cerro Negro Norte iron ore mine located 9 km from the plant.

CAP will require up to 60 MW of capacity, and the rest will be injected into SIC and sold at spot prices by SunEdison, CAP's head of energy and fuels Pablo Arriagada told BNamericas at the inauguration event. He declined to say how much CAP is paying for the electric supply but said the price was "very competitive."

Amanecer Solar CAP's 314,000 PV panels cover an area of 280 ha. The plant is located 37 km from the northern city of Copiapó and took just six months to build.

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