Chile: new 80 MW merchant solar project announced


Chile's ever-shifting merchant solar landscape has added another keynote project to its pipeline this week following the announcement from Greenwood Energy that it is to build a 80 MW project in the Antofagasta region.

U.S. renewable energy company Greenwood Energy will work alongside local EPC Pacific Solar SA to construct the plant, which will usurp the 70 MW Project Salvador PV plant – also located in Chile – as the world’s largest merchant solar project.

This latest addition to Chile’s thriving merchant solar sector will cover 190 hectares of land in the northern region. The merchant solar model – which sells its energy directly on to the spot power markets without the need for power purchase agreements (PPAs) – has proved particularly popular in Chile for a handful of reasons.

Chile’s long, narrow geography makes it difficult to engineer much north-south connectivity, meaning the sunny areas in the north of the country, which is also where the majority of Chile’s mining operations are located, tend to rely on expensive diesel-powered generators for energy. Solar has become a viable alternative in recent months owing to Chile’s stable economy and government-level reluctance to interfere with free-market conditions.

This latest PV project (completion is scheduled for early 2016) will add another 80 MW to the country’s merchant power portfolio, while the overall growth of the solar sector in the country is expected to grow by almost 1 GW this year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

BNEF’s Latin America associate Lilian Alves told pv magazine that Chile’s market and topographical conditions make the country the ideal breeding ground for merchant solar projects.

"The reason that merchant solar is working in Chile and in other countries such as Mexico is because of transmission constraints," she said. High power prices, high insolation and private investors ready and willing to take risks in one of Latin America’s most stable economies are creating a near-perfect storm in which merchant solar projects can grow.

January’s issue of pv magazine – published January 22nd – features an in-depth article on the growth of the merchant power PV model in Latin and South America.

Popular content

This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact:


Related content

Elsewhere on pv magazine...

Leave a Reply

Please be mindful of our community standards.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting this form you agree to pv magazine using your data for the purposes of publishing your comment.

Your personal data will only be disclosed or otherwise transmitted to third parties for the purposes of spam filtering or if this is necessary for technical maintenance of the website. Any other transfer to third parties will not take place unless this is justified on the basis of applicable data protection regulations or if pv magazine is legally obliged to do so.

You may revoke this consent at any time with effect for the future, in which case your personal data will be deleted immediately. Otherwise, your data will be deleted if pv magazine has processed your request or the purpose of data storage is fulfilled.

Further information on data privacy can be found in our Data Protection Policy.