Enel begins construction of 100 MW PV plants in Chile

Italy’s Enel Green Power has begun construction on two photovoltaic plants in northern Chile that will have a combined capacity of 100 MW.

At a cost of $110 milllion, the 60 MW Lalackama plant is expected to be Enel’s largest PV installation. Once completed and fully operational, it will be capable of generating up to 160 gigwatt hours a year — enough to cover the energy needs of about 90,000 Chilean households.

The 40 MW ChaƱares plant, located next to the 36 MW Diego de Almagro solar farm — Enel’s first PV farm in Chile — is expected to cost $70 million. It will be capable of generating up to 94 gigawatt hours once it is fully operational — equivalent to the electricity needs of about 53,000 households. The plant is expected to come on line sometime in late 2014 or early 2015.

The two plants combines will avoid the emission of some 160,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The projects have power supply contracts to sell the generated electricity on the regulated market, which were won in November via a tender held by 26 distributors for Chile’s Central Interconnected System.

In Chile, Enel owns and operates the Talinay and Valle de los Vientos wind farms (both 90 MW in installed capacity), and currently building its largest wind farm, the $190 million, 99 MW Taltal. The company is also exploring a number of geothermal concessions with the potential of generating more than 100 MW in installed capacity.

In Latin America, Enel also operates renewable energy plants in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and Brazil, with a total installed capacity of more than 1,250 MW.