Abengoa To Develop South America’s Largest Solar Thermal Plant


Abengoa has been selected by the Ministry of Energy of the Chilean Government and Corporacion de Fomento de la Produccion (Corfo) to develop a 110 MW solar plant in Chile.

The company says the project will be the largest solar thermal plant in South America – and the first solar thermal plant for direct electricity production in the continent.

The project will be located in the Atacama Desert, the region with the highest solar radiation concentrations in the world, claims Abengoa.

The solar plant, which will use molten salts tower technology, will have an advanced storage system enabling it to generate electricity for up to 17.5 hours without direct solar radiation, according to the company.

The project won the international tender launched by the Chilean Ministry of Energy and Corfo to construct the first concentrated solar power plant in Latin America, says Abengoa. As part of this tender, the project will receive direct subsidies from the Chilean government and the European Union, as well as financing from the Inter-American Development Bank, KFW Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau, the Clean Technology Fund and Canadian Fund.

The project will be located in the commune of Maria Elena in the Antofagasta region, northern Chile. The company says the project forms part of Chile's national renewable energy program, intended to provide Chile with a cleaner energy future, while also promoting its economic development and reducing its dependency on coal and natural gas. Chile has set a target to produce 20% of its electricity from clean energy sources by 2025.

Construction of the project is due to start in the second half of this year.

IHS recently made solar market predictions for 2014, claiming that Latin America will surpass a new milestone in the deployment of PV. IHS forecast that installations in the region will soar to 1.4 GW this year, up from 300 MW in 2013, and that the majority of additions will take place in Chile and Mexico.

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