World’s Biggest Solar Plant Planned for Chile
The World’s Biggest Solar Park is planned in Chile. The “Project Salvador” will cost about US$ 200 million.
SANTIAGO — According to their statement, the French oil giant Total and the Canadian Etrion will build the largest photovoltaic park in the world, in the Atacama desert. The costs of about US$20 million will be born to 70% by the US Government’s development finance institution, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, “OPIC”. The remaining 30% will be financed by Etrion, Total and the Chilean company Solventus. The solar power plant will be built on 133 hectares leased from the Chilean government through a long-term concession.
The project is supposed to profit from Chile’s high electricity prices, large energy demand and low construction costs. Philippe Boisseau, the head of marketing and services and “new energies” at Total, said “this merchant project confirms that solar energy is becoming competitive with other conventional energy sources” and explained, the project is an important step in the process of transforming the capabilities of solar power in the world.
Marco A. Northland, CEO of Etrion, stated, the project will demonstrate that solar is a viable and sustainable power solution in Chile, given the strong solar irradiation and high electricity prices in the region.
The Project Salvador construction is expected to begin in the next few months, and is supposed to be start working in 2015. The project will use SunPower Oasis Power Blocks system, which builds solar farms in 1.5 Megawatt modules using high-efficiency solar panels and single-axis trackers.
Once operational, Project Salvador is expected to produce approximately 200 gigawatt-hours of solar electricity per year, suggesting a capacity factor of more than 30% – and delivering regularly during daytime. It will provide enough energy to supply electricity to approximately 60,000 people in Chile.