Chile prepares to add 2.2 GW of solar power generation

21 January 2013 Applications & Installations, Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends
By: Vladimir Pekic
A Saferay solar installation in Chile.

Chile is preparing for a 1.5 GW boost to its solar generating network over the next 15 years.Solarpraxis/Becky Beetz

Chile's National Energy Commission (CNE) says it is feasible to connect up to 2.2 GW of solar plants to the national grid over the next 15 years, in a newly published plan for the expansion of the national transmission system.

The 125-page report estimates the cost of investing in photovoltaic energy development in Chile amounts to US$2,500 per kW, equal to the price of building coal generation plants in the northern electricity transmission system (SING) and slightly more expensive than building coal plants ($2,350/kW) in the central electricity system (SIC).

The new report lists 13 solar plants with a combined capacity of 1.5 GW that are expected to come online on SING up to 2028.

According to the plan, the 100 MW-scale Sol De Lua and Crucero 1 plants are due to come online next year, followed by the 50 MW Arica 1 and 100 MW Crucero 2 in 2015.

In 2016, the 50 MW Arica 2 and 100 MW Pozo Almonte 1 will start production, followed by the 100 MW-sized Crucero 3 and Laguna 2 in 2018 and the similarly sized Pozo Almonte 2 in 2019.

Three more 200 MW photovoltaic plants are scheduled to come online: Solar Sing 1 and Solar Sing 2 in 2026 and Solar Sing 3 two years later.

Eight more plants totalling 700 MW are slated for development on the SIC network, including the 100 MW Sol de Almagro 1, Inca de Oro 1 and Carrera Pinto 1 (in 2018) and the 50 MW Sol de Vallenar 1 (in 2018 or 2019). The remaining four plants – the 100 MW Sol de Almagro 1, Inca de Oro 2 and Carrera Pinto 2 and the 50 MW Sol de Vallenar 2 - will be developed in the next decade up to 2027.

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