Currently, Chile is seeing an all-around increase in solar development, with projects totaling more than 1.5 gigawatts (1500 megawatts) in their electricity generating capacity already approved or presently being licensed.
Recent partnerships between Chile and foreign nations look to expand Chile’s renewable energy projects and increase the megawatt capacity of the nation’s power matrix.
With the world’s driest desert, the Atacama, in the north of the country, Chile has amazing potential as a solar energy power source. Since Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera took office in 2010, the country has aimed to increase renewable energy use by 20% by the year 2020.
New partnerships between Chile and foreign nations will help make this goal a reality. A 300-megawatt solar park, 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. This US$900 million project will be developed over the next three years and will mean a substantial increase in the amount of power the nation draws from non-conventional renewable energy (NCRE) sources.
Over the next several years, Chile will also work to develop non-conventional renewable energy projects with South Korea. The goal of these projects is to utilize Chile’s natural resources as sources of energy, and investigations will focus on such possible sources as tidal power, among other green energy technologies.
Yet another new project to make use of Chile’s sun power is the Los Andes photovoltaic park. Los Andes is a US$572 million solar park that will contain 550,000 solar panels, each made up of solar cells that contain photovoltaic materials. These semiconductors are the link in converting the desert’s intense solar radiation into direct current electric power. Los Andes will be Chile’s second largest solar facility and is part of a wave of new solar projects planned by the Chilean power producer and distributor AES Gener.