World's largest merchant solar project goes online in Chile

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On Monday, SunPower connected Project Salvador to the grid in Chile’s Atacama Desert. At 70 MW this is the second-largest PV plant to go online in the Chile, which is Latin America’s largest solar market.

SunPower provided engineering, procurement and construction services for the project.

Salvador is also the largest merchant solar plant to be completed in the world, which means that the plant holds no power purchase agreement and sells the electricity it generates on the spot market. This is a business model which Chile is leading due to a combination of conditions including high spot prices for electricity in certain nodes in the nation’s Central Grid (SIC), where Project Salvador is located.

SunPower CEO Tom Werner has said that he sees room for more merchant projects in Chile, and expects the model to spread to other nations. "Think of it as the beginning of a trend that we are going to see in the rest of the world," Werner told pv magazine.

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