Arica to install solar panels in housing

The intention of the initiative is to evaluate technical, regulatory and profitability aspects with a view to implementing this alternative energy source on a large scale in the north of Chile, an area recognized for its solar potential.


Up to now, one of the greatest restrictions to industrial development in the north of Chile has been the high cost of electric power, supplied in 98% of cases by thermal-electric power plants.

In order to find a solution to this problem, in Arica, the northern gateway to the country, the company Emelari, a power-distributing branch of the CGE group in the “Norte Grande” area, will develop a business model aimed at optimizing the net electricity consumption of clients in three residential houses on the basis of solar energy connected to the city’s distribution network.

The cost of this public-private project, which is supported by InnovaCorfo through its Fast-Track Entrepreneurial Innovation Line,  is estimated at 60 million Chilean pesos, of which more than half will be contributed by Corfo.

Specifically, the implementation of this initiative will make it possible to identify shortcomings in the technical and economic design, as well as any possible flaws in the current regulations. The idea is to solve any problems encountered in these areas and propose a business model with a view to expanding the initiative into a large-scale project.

In the event that the technical and economic results are positive, InnovaChile expects Emelari to become involved in a new type of business and offer this product to its clients as an opportunity to reduce energy costs, and provide Chilean institutions such as the Housing and Urban Planning Service (Serviu) with improved quality in the housing they offer.

This would therefore be giving an innovative use to a technology that has already been proven in developed countries, in particular the United States and the European Union, where strong subsidies are provided to this type of energy, which is clean, ecological and also allows the development of other markets such as carbon bonds.

In the long run, and after the respective assessment has been concluded, the idea is to expand this type of energy to the entire north of Chile, an area well known for its high solar potential. The analysis will include aspects such as the technical conditions of the distribution network, the economic feasibility of its subsidy-free implementation, and the regulatory changes necessary to implement this alternative energy source on a large scale.

Similar cases already exist in the country. For example, in the central-southern part of Chile, work is under way to build health centers using solar energyfor their operation. At the same time, other options such as wind power are being developed. The main wind farm is located in the Region of Coquimbo.

This post is also available in Spanish