China-based company Sky Solar was recently approved by the Chilean government for the construction 18 MW photovoltaic plant outside of Arica in Northern Chile. Called Arica 1, the solar project is controlled by Arica Solar Generation 1 Ltda, a branch of Chinese Sky Solar.
The official opening ceremony took place in October in the presence of the Chinese ambassador to Chile, Yango Wanming, and the Chilean regional secretary of National Properties, Felipe Andrade.
Solar Sky’s project will entail 84,240 photovoltaic modules that will feed the planned 18 MW of energy into Northern Chile’s electric grind Sistema Interconectado del Norte Grande (SING).
The company plans to begin construction before the end of the year and the plant should be finished within 15 months. The completion of Arica 1 will mark the first project of its kind carried out by a Chinese company in Chile.
This project is just part of Sky Solar’s grand scheme for solar power innovation in Chile. In July the company announced their plans to invest US$900 million dollars in solar power technology with the goal of generating 300 MW of energy.
Each MW represents an estimated US$3 million investment.
“(Chile’s) politically stable government and policies, strong investment environment, electricity demand and the government’s increasing focus on renewable energy,” make the Andean nation, “one of the most attractive” locations for solar energy investment, Sky Solar told PV Magazine.
As the second step of Sky Solar’s 300 MW energy goal, they submitted a new proposal to the Chilean government in October for Arica 2, a solar power plant with 15 MW potential worth US$45 million.
Sky Solar’s interest in Chile comes after scientists determined earlier this year that the Atacama Desert has the highest capacity for solar energy radiation on the earth, more so than the Sahara Desert, Arabian Desert, or Australia’s Great Sandy Desert.