Solar output soars in Chile

By
Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Solar generation increased more than a hundred times in Chile's main SIC grid in February, reaching 17.1GWh, compared to sun-powered gross generation of 155MWh in February 2013.

Four solar projects injected power into the SIC in February, whereas Kaltemp's 1.2MW Tambo Real plant was the only solar on the SIC the year before, according to data from grid operator CDEC-SIC.

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Since February 2013, the following plants were connected to the grid: SolaireDirect's 1.26MW Andacollo; RTS Energy's 2.88MW Esperanza; and SunEdison's 93.7MW Amanecer Solar CAP and 48.2 MW San Andrés.

The San Andrés plant began injecting for the first time last month, while Andacollo - which generates power at Lachlan Star's Minera Dayton gold operation - didn't inject anything into the SIC.

Gross generation on the SIC was up 0.31% year-on-year in February to 4,012GWh.

Thermal generation declined 0.98% to 2,514GWh, accounting for 62.7% of the generation mix.

Run-of-river hydro plants generated 860GWh in February, a 1.66% drop from last year, accounting for 21.4% of the mix.

Hydroelectric dams generated 556GWh, up 0.68%, to make up 13.9% of the mix.

With the connection of three wind farms in the past year - 7.2MW Ucuquer, 90MW Talinay and 33MW Negrete - wind power generation increased 94.5%. Wind generation totaled 63.7GWh in February, or 1.6% of the mix, double the share of wind in February 2013.

Marginal costs at the benchmark 220kV busbar of the Quillota substation near Santiago averaged US$137.6/MWh in February, down 32.8% year-on-year.