Chile: Interest in small solar parks grows


According to the November’s monthly report on renewables, published by the National Energy Commission (CNE) of Chile, local environmental authority SEA accepted six new solar projects for review in October, totaling 54 MW.

Each of the projects has a capacity of 9 MW, meaning they will very likely be distributed generation ground-mounted PV plants; and will be developed under the scheme for medium-sized distributed generation PMGD, which is open to projects up to 9 MW in size.

The six projects, most likely submitted by the same developer, but through different special purpose vehicles, all feature the same characteristics: a planned investment of US$12 million, the use of 40,000 power modules between 310 and 420 watts, and four 2.5 MW inverters. All the installations, in addition, are set to be located in the Coquimbo region.

In September, seven PV projects with a capacity ranging between 6 and 9 MW also entered the SEA, according to the CNE.


A trend appears to be taking place in Chile, where small solar parks could supplant the installations of utility-scale plants, which have been contracted through auctions, or which have gone merchant. This trend has already been observed in Argentina, where medium-sized solar parks were awarded a consistent quota of the assigned power in the country's latest renewable energy auction.

Furthermore, in the last presidential debate in Chile, which took place in mid-October, almost all the candidates said they were in favor of the democratization of energy, with the entry of more actors, and of an improvement of the regulatory framework for distributed generation.

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Under the PMDG program, which is supporting projects up to 9 MW in size, PV plant owners are granted stabilized prices that are higher than spot market prices, because they are calculated by the Chilean national Energy Commission (CNE) with a mid-term perspective.

Moreover, the program guarantees automatic connection to the medium voltage grid and certainty that all energy production will be injected into the power network.

The number of PMGD solar projects being planned or connected to the Chilean network, as a result, is constantly increasing.

France's Cap Vert Energie finalized three projects with a combined capacity of 10.5 MW in July, while Spain's Solarpack announced in May it had obtained $35 million in funds to carry out three 9 MW projects in the Atacama desert, in the north of Chile.

In September, meanwhile, Canadian solar project developer, CarbonFree Technology announced it had acquired 65 MW of these projects, while the Japanese company Eurus acquired two projects from Spain's Grenergy. And in November, China-based SkySolar acquired three projects located in the O'Higgins Region for a total of 24 MW.

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