Solar energy will illuminate a tunnel in northern Chile

The system will be implemented by the Public Works Ministry and seeks to contribute to the diversification of the country’s energy matrix.


In order to take advantage of the area’s natural resources and to contribute to the diversification of the energy matrix, the Public Works Ministryannounced that it will install a solar illumination system in the Pedro Galleguillos Tunnel on the highway that connects Tocopilla with Iquique in northern Chile.

The tunnel will thus have 270 lights inside, which will be fed with photovoltaic solar panels along the length of its 794 meters.

“The location of the lighting system will be along a single line at the highest part of the tunnel. This will allow us to avoid the deterioration caused by truck traffic,” stated Regional Road Works Director Pablo Volta.

The initiative, which has a total cost of 520 million pesos, comes on top of another similar project in the Antofagasta Region, where 140 solar powered light posts have already been installed on Route 25, in the area of the Calama Ring Road.

Northern Chile has been distinguished the world over for its extraordinarily favorable conditions for the development of solar energy. Estimates from Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María indicate that Chile’s solar capacity, located mainly in the northern part of the country, is equivalent to 40 nuclear power plants.

Furthermore, the study “Renewables 2050?” which was carried out by Greenpeace in 2007, states that an adequate investment in this area would generate 47 times Chile’s energy demand that year.

This post is also available in Spanish