Chile’s solar energy yield enhanced by China

Two large scale solar energy projects will be created in the north of the country after Chinese company agrees to supply solar panels.

The Atacama Desert has the highest solar energy potential in the world. Photo by Codelco / Flickr
The Atacama Desert has the highest solar energy potential in the world. Photo by Codelco / Flickr

Chile’s green energy credentials are set to receive a boost after a major Chinese solar manufacturer agreed to supply 100 megawatts of panels for two huge projects in the north of the country.

JinkoSolar Holding Co. (JKS), a global leader in the solar PV industry, will be manufacturing and transporting 197,000 high efficiency PV Solar modules for the first of the two projects — the Lalackama PV 60-megawatt plant located in Chile’s Atacama Desert region. The plant is expected to generate approximately 132 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity each year.

The second project will be situated in the Municipality of Diego De Almagro just north of the city of Copiapó. It will consist of a slightly smaller 40-megawatts power plant. However, the setup will still be able to deliver an impressive 88 million kWh of electricity annually.

“We are very proud to have further solidified our position as one of the largest PV module suppliers in Chile,” said Mr. Alberto Cuter, JinkoSolar’s Sales Director of Emerging Market, in a press release on the JinkoSolar’s website.

“The increase in demand for renewable energy has turned Chile into one of the principal solar markets, and by signing those contracts, we are continuing our strategy to diversify into emerging markets,” Cuter further explained. “We now have the largest market share in Chile, marking a new milestone for JinkoSolar. Our expanding presence in Chile’s renewable energy market demonstrates our commitment to the development of clean energy in Latin America.”

Chile has been looking to form foreign partnerships in recent years in a bid to expand the nation’s renewable energy supplies. After President Sebastian Piñera took office in 2010, the country has aimed to increase renewable energy use by 20% by the year 2020 by building ties abroad — notably with China and South Korea.

The Atacama region, the world’s driest desert, offers ideal conditions to harvest solar energy and on top of JinkoSolar Holding’s plant, the area will soon host a further 300-megawatt solar park. The US$900 million project is the result of a partnership between Chilean industrial group Sigdo Koppers and Chinese entities Sky Solar and China Development Bank, that will help up Chile’s installed energy capacity from a power matrix of 17,000 to 25,000 megawatts.