Chile: Sky Solar breaks ground on 18 MW PV project

Ground on the 18 MW photovoltaic plant was also broken at the signing ceremony, held on October 25 in Pampa Dos Cruces, in the presence of China’s Ambassador to Santiago, Yang Wanming, and regional secretary of the National Assets Ministry, Felipe Andrade.

Arica 1 is being developed by the Arica Solar Generatión 1 Limitada company, which is controlled by Sky Solar. Construction of the new plant, situated 27 kilometers from the town of Arica, is expected to last 15 months. Overall, it will comprise 84,240 photovoltaic modules, which will supply power to Chile’s northern grid Sistema Interconectado del Norte Grande (SING) via the 66 kV Chapiquiña-S/E Arica transmission line owned by E-CL. When complete, the project will be the first of its kind to be executed by a Chinese company in Chile.

Arica Solar Generatión 1 Limitada also submitted a request for the environmental licensing of the 15 MW Arica 2 solar project worth US$45 million in Arica and Parinacota region on October 1. The project consists of the installation of 75,600 photovoltaic panels across an area of 42.2 hectares, according to the online SEA database.

The news marks the start of Sky Solar’s US$900 million, 300 MW photovoltaic plans in the country. A framework agreement was signed during a visit to Santiago in June by China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, involving Sky Solar, Chilean engineering company Ingeniería y Construcción Sigdo Koppers and China Development Bank.

Sky Solar’s MD of South America, Hong Chen told pv magazine earlier this month that the company will distribute its 300 MW pipeline over a number of different projects, which are expected to come online within the next two to three years. The company is working with several local partners, including Sigdo Koppers, to realize its plans.

Hong said the company hopes to begin construction on the first 20 MW this year, and estimates that $3 million will be invested per MW. Sky Solar is also currently setting up a local office in Chile.

Edited by Becky Beetz.