SolarReserve gets go-ahead for 450MW Chile solar thermal plant

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Monday, March 6, 2017

SolarReserve has been given the green light by Chile's environmental evaluation service SEA to build its planned 450MW Tamarugal solar thermal plant in Tarapacá region (I).

The project will comprise three 150MW solar thermal towers, each with 13 hours of full load energy storage. With 5.8GWh of total energy storage capacity, the facility will deliver 450MW of continuous output, resulting in over 2,600GWh/y, the California-based company said in a press release.

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The Tamarugal plant will operate at a capacity factor and availability percentage equal to that of a coal-fired power plant, while providing a highly competitive price of power and zero emissions, it added.

The project will provide non-intermittent electricity from solar energy 24 hours a day.

The SEA approved 10 energy projects requiring US$944mn of total investment in January, including the US$535mn, 446MW Elena solar PV project planned by Ibereólica, and in February approved Mainstream Renewable Power's US$290mn, 245MW Escondido solar PV project in the country's Atacama region (III).

"The Tamarugal project will help stabilize and lower electricity costs for Chilean families and businesses, while ensuring energy security for the country," Tom Georgis, SolarReserve's senior VP for development, said.

SolarReserve said it will be bidding energy and associated capacity, from Tamarugal and other Chilean projects, into an upcoming international public auction for 24-hour energy supply.

"What's happening in Chile is a preview of the future of solar around the world," SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith said. "We've proven that solar can compete head-to-head with conventional energy on both functionality and cost."

SolarReserve is a global developer, owner and operator of utility-scale solar power projects, with more than US$1.8bn of projects in operation worldwide.