Solar project

Monday, October 5, 2015

Construction is due to start in 2015 on a solar project touted as the biggest solar PV plant in Latin America.

The US$343mn El Romero Solar PV project, proposed by Spain's Acciona Energía, will have installed capacity of (247MWp, 196MW) and be built in northern region Atacama (III) in Chile.

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The solar project is due to come online in 2017 and supply SIC grid distributors.

The plant will be the second asset owned by Acciona Energía in Chile after the 45MW Punta Palmeras wind farm in Coquimbo. The company is also carrying out projects for third-party customers in Chile, having built the first phase of the 7.2MW Pampa-Camarones PV plant for E-CL.

In 2014 construction of First Solar's 141MW Luz del Norte PV plant got underway, also in Atacama region. The solar project is due to be connected to the grid by the end of 2015 and will take the crown of the region's biggest operating solar project, First Solar said at the time.

As costs come down and economies of scale increase, the future appears increasingly bright for solar power generation in Latin America.

That's according to BNamericas' latest Electric Power Intelligence Series report, which says that silicon photovoltaic cells now cost around US$0.30/watt on average, down from about US$2.50/watt in 2010.

As a result, PV solar is proving to be competitive with conventional energy sources, even in subsidy-free markets like Chile, whose solar segment has emerged as the gold standard for the rest of the region to follow.

Two Latin American countries cracked the top 10 in the September 2015 edition of the Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index put out by EY.

Brazil improved to place number eight overall from its previous ranking of ninth, while Chile moved to ninth from eleventh on the list, which ranks the top 40 countries in the world in terms of attractiveness for investment in renewables.

Brazil ranked second globally for hydropower, third for biomass and fifth for onshore wind.

A selection of other news, analysis, projects and companies related to solar project:

Chile targets solar sector's 'human capital' deficit

Brazil to announce new solar incentives

JinkoSolar to supply Mexico PV plant

Generadoras de Chile

Fotovoltaica Norte Grande 5

Mexico to build solar energy research center

Quilapilún solar park

AT A GLANCE: The 'renewable revolution' in Latin America