Chile connects first floating PV plant to grid under net billing scheme


From pv magazine LatAm

Chilean Energy Minister Juan Carlos Jobet inaugurated the largest grid-connected floating solar plant in Chile last week.

Chilean developer Solarity built the plant across 1,500 square meters of a reservoir at a dam owned by the Mataquito-Hortifrut agricultural company. The floating array, which features 456 PV modules, is now connected to the national distribution network under Chile's net billing scheme, which allows plant owners to source 100% of their energy needs from their projects, while selling excess power to the grid.

The Mataquito-Hortifrut plant's output is equivalent to the monthly electricity consumption of 116 households, or around 626,400 kWh. Juan Ignacio Allende, corporate general manager of Hortifrut, said that the project is the first floating PV plant to be connected to the Chilean electricity grid, and the company's eighth operational solar project.

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“We are committed to … advancing the development and implementation of renewable energy in our fields, throughout the country, to replace at least 50% of the energy that we currently use,” he said.

Chile's first floating PV plant was built by French floating PV specialist Ciel&Terre and Chilean integrator Lenergie in March 2019. The standalone project was deployed at a copper mine owned by multinational mining company Anglo American.

South America has the potential to deploy 36 GW of floating solar capacity, according to a recent report by the World Bank. The region’s largest operational floating PV system is a 1 MW installation built by power producer Companhia Hidroelétrica do São Francisco (Chesf) at a 175 MW hydroelectric dam in Sobradinho, in the Brazilian state of Bahia.

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