6.8MW Chilean solar plant expected to operate at grid parity

This post was originally published in 2015. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

Photovoltaics are becoming a reality in Chile, one of South America’s fastest-growing emerging markets with a high potential for solar energy generation. The impending construction of two solar facilities in the Coquimbo Region stands as evidence that the area is ready for large-scale solar technology to offer cost-competitive electricity for the regions inhabitants.

Developer and EPC IM2 Energia Solar, through its Chilean subsidiary, has started construction of two photovoltaic facilities, “SOL” and “LUNA,” each of which will generate 3.378 MW, for a total capacity of 6.8 MW. The two systems will be built featuring four MV Power Station 1600SC containerized inverter and interconnection system solutions.

The MV Power Station features two Sunny Central 720/760CP XT inverters and a medium-voltage transformer with each unit. The MV Power Station is an optimal turnkey system for utility PV plants ready for Q at Night for reactive power operations outside of feed-in operation and those with risk of extreme weather. Transport and maintenance expenses are reduced due to its container system and an optimized cooling technology.

Both solar plants are innovative in the region, quickly becoming two of the most important projects around the Valle del Elqui area, which features nearly ideal conditions for maximizing solar resources. Construction is expected to reach completion by the end of the year.

Chile has been turned into a pole of attraction for renewable energy investment due to its strong economy and its regulatory and political stability. In addition, having the highest irradiation ratios around the world (>2.500kW/m2) and the most expensive electricity costs of South America ($200USD/MWh) has made solar an increasingly attractive energy source. It is one of the first countries in the world where grid parity has been already reached. Without economical support from the national government, solar energy is competitive by itself, able to compete at market value with other conventional energy sources.

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