Enel puts 136 MW of solar PV on line in Chile

On December 29th, Enel Green Power reported completion of the 60 MW Lalackama and 40 MW Chañares solar PV plants in Northern Chile, as well as the final 4 MW phase of the Diego de Almagro plant.

All three are located in the regions of Antofagasta and Atacama in Northern Chile, and hold contracts to sell the electricity they generate into the nation’s Central Grid (SIC). Together they comprise 136 MW of solar PV that the company has put online in Chile in 2014 and represent an investment of US$240 million.

“Enel Green Power is currently the number two ranked developer in the Latin America region, according to the Q3 Latin America PV Playbook from GTM Research,” explains GTM Research Solar Analyst Adam James.

“With a wide network of partners and subsidiaries in the region’s electricity industry and extensive access to capital, Enel is in many ways the most competitively positioned downstream company in the Latin American market.”

It is unclear whether or not these projects included in the 326 MW-AC that Chilean authorities declared online in a December report. The report also found that 873 MW-AC of solar PV projects are under construction, making Chile by far the largest solar PV market in Latin America and likely the Southern Hemisphere.

While the smallest of the three projects, the Diego de Almagro may be the most interesting, as it is made up of 225,000 multi-junction thin-film solar PV modules from Enel’s 3Sun factory in Sicily.

These modules comprise a structure of micro-crystalline and amorphous silicon layers. While the technology offers a conversion efficiency of only 9.6%, Enel says that like other thin-film modules they perform better under low-light and high temperature conditions.

In July Sharp bowed out of a joint venture to develop projects using modules from the 3Sun factory, with Enel taking over its purchase commitments. At the time the company said that it would use the modules to supply its PV projects in emerging nations, naming South Africa and South America.