Chile installs record-breaking 150 MW of PV in Q1

Chile installed 153 MW of utility-scale PV in the first quarter of the year, according to GTM Research’s just released Latin America PV Playbook, Q2 2014. The figure is more than three times the amount any Latin American country has installed in a single quarter.

"The last quarter has been a testament to the real pipeline now emerging in Chile," said GTM Research global solar analyst Adam James. "The market has strong fundamentals, and we are seeing that companies like SunEdison can leverage a variety of business models to execute deals on those fundamentals. Both the PPA and merchant markets in Chile have exciting near-term potential, and several companies have secured financing and have projects moving forward."

The report points to one completed project of note, the 50.7 MW San Andres solar power plant — the largest merchant project in the world with spot prices competing on the open market. Chile is also adopting large-scale PV systems to support the nation’s mining industry, which makes up a significant percentage of its GDP. Copper mining alone represents 20 percent of economic activity in the country. SunEdison connected two of last quarter’s four projects, including San Andres, totaling 148 MW.

A handful of other developers, including Solarpack, Selray, Enel Green Power, Mainstream Renewable Power and SunPower, are currently constructing an additional 380 MW. Two projects totaling 23.5 MW are expected to be completed during the second quarter. GTM Research predicts Chile will install a total of 244 MW in 2014.

"With Energy Reform legislation chilling the large-scale project pipeline in Mexico, Chile may emerge as the regional leader by the end of 2014 in both annual and cumulative PV installations," said James.