Switzerland-based Etrion Corp. has completed construction of the 70 MW Salvador solar project in the Atacama region of Chile.
Salvador is owned 70% by Etrion, 20% by France-based Total and 10% by a local developer. The $200 million project was financed by the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corp. with a loan for approximately 70% of the total, with the remaining 30% equity portion funded by Etrion, Total and the local developer based on their respective ownership interests.
Total affiliate SunPower Corp. was contracted for the engineering, procurement and construction of the solar park using its Oasis power block system. Construction began in December 2013 and the solar park was connected to the grid on Nov. 3. The solar power plant was built on 133 hectares leased from the Chilean government through a long-term concession, and the facility was connected through the power infrastructure of CorporaciÃ³n Nacional del Cobre de Chile.
Salvador is expected to produce approximately 200 GWh of electricity per year. The facility will initially operate on a merchant basis, where the electricity produced will be sold on the spot market and delivered to the Sistema Interconectado Central electricity network. Etrion says the Salvador project is the world's largest solar power plant based on spot market electricity revenues. Future power purchase agreements with specific off-takers could be forthcoming.
The project has entered into a long-term, fixed-price operation and maintenance agreement with SunPower. As part of this agreement, the Salvador's solar panels will be cleaned six times per year by SunPower's robotic system.