The María Elena project calls for the construction and operation of a 400MW thermo-solar complex, 62km southeast of the city of Calama in northern Chile's Antofagasta region II. Developed by Ibereólica Solar Atacama, a local subsidiary of Spanish energy firm Grupo Ibereólica, María Elena will feature four independent 100MW plants spread over an area of 2,897ha. The complex will be built in two stages, each one expected to take 38 months to complete. Each 100MW plant will comprise 8,800 heliostats, mounted on double-axis PV trackers that will capture and reflect the Atacama Desert's rich solar radiation (up to 4,800kcal/m2 a day) onto a 260m-high collector tower. The concentrated radiation will be used to heat thermal fluids made up mostly of molten salt, which then will be used to produce steam, allowing the generation of electricity through a 100MW steam-turbine generator. The project will require a US$3.29bn investment, which includes a double circuit 220kV transmission line that will run 17.5km to the Encuentro substation, injecting 2,590GWh/y to the country's northern SING grid.
María Elena Thermosolar Plant
EIA - Approved
400  MW (megawatt) Solar Power
The María Elena thermosolar project is planned for the district of María Elena in northern Chile's region II.
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