Switzerland-based solar power producer Etrion Corp. says its 8.8 MW Aguas Blancas solar project in Chile is likely to be delayed for a year due to a falloff in the customer's mining operations.
The solar park under development in the Antofagasta region of Chile is expected to sell electricity to Atacama Minerals Chile S.C.M. through a 15"year take"or"pay power purchase agreement. The parent company of Atacama Minerals, Sirocco Mining Inc., recently announced a temporary reduction in production at the Aguas Blancas iodine mine due to softening market prices.
Operations at part of the mine will be temporarily suspended, and the expansion of the mine will be delayed. Sirocco anticipates that operations at the mine will be restarted early in 2015, and the expansion of the mine will follow shortly thereafter.
The Aguas Blancas solar park was expected to be under construction by the first quarter of this year and to be operational by July. Given Sirocco's recent announcement, Etrion expects construction of the solar park to be delayed by 12 months.
Etrion plans to invest approximately $5.0 million in the project – about 30% of the estimated total cost. The balance is expected to be funded by a long-term, non-recourse project loan.