Etrion to build 70 MW Chile PV plant

Switzerland-based renewable energy specialists Etrion have commenced construction of a 70 MW PV power plant in Chile’s Atacama region.

The project – titled Project Salvador – is part of Etrion’s wider 100 MW solar pipeline in the country, and will be completed in collaboration with Total S.A. and local solar energy company, Solventus Energias Renovables.

Initially, Project Salvador will operate on a spot market basis, calculated in US dollars. There will also be the possibility for utility companies to secure future power purchase agreements for the plant, which is 70% owned by Etrion, with Total claiming 20% and Solventus the remaining 10%.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be $200 million, of which 70% will be financed through non-recourse project debt supplied by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). Etrion, Total and Solventus have supplied the remaining 30% of funding, equal to their respective share of ownership.

Onsite, Project Salvador will use SunPower’s high-efficiency single-axis tracker technology to ensure maximum PV output in one of the world’s sunniest and driest regions. Completion is expected by the end of the first quarter of 2015.

In further good news from Etrion, the company announced this week that its 17 PV power plants in Italy – with a combined capacity of 60 MW – produced 2% more electricity in 2013 than forecast, delivering 104.9 million kWh of clean solar energy last year.