Chile to add two new solar PV plants totaling 240 MW

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Chilean authorities have this week given the green light to two large-scale solar PV projects that will add 240 MW of solar capacity to the nation’s portfolio.

First Solar’s Chilean subsidiary, First solar Energia Ltda., has been granted permission to develop a 162.3 MW solar project in the country’s Atacama region, and Irish solar energy developer Mainstream Renewable Power will enter the Chilean market in 2015 after securing approval for its 88 MW Solar Estancia project in the Coquimbo region.

For U.S. company First Solar, its Luz del Norte (Light of the North) PV project will cost an estimated in $370 million, with the company utilizing 1.7 million of its CdTe modules, which have been specially designed to perform in the hot, dry and dusty conditions of desert regions such as the Atacama.

Construction of the Luz del Norte project is scheduled to begin in June this year in the Copiapo municipality of Atacama. In coordinating the project, First Solar acquired local solar developer Solar Chile from its partner, Fundacion Chile, in a move that will augment Solar Chile’s current 1.5 GW PV portfolio in the country.

Mainstream Renewable Power, meanwhile, submitted its proposal through its local subsidiary Andes Mainstream SpA last October, securing approval for the 88 MW Solar Estancia farm this week. The project will cost an estimated $160 million and will comprise 294,400 multicrystalline modules.

Construction of this project is not scheduled to begin until March 2015. Once complete, the plant will boost Andes Mainstreams SpA’s Chile portfolio, which currently stands at 232 MW, mostly in the north of the country.