Switzerland-based Etrion Corp. has entered into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Atacama Minerals Chile S.C.M. to provide electricity to its Aguas Blancas iodine mine in northern Chile.
Etrion plans to build, own and operate the solar park with a total capacity of up to 8.8 MW to meet approximately 35% of the Aguas Blancas Mine's total projected power requirements. The solar park, which is scheduled to be operational in the second quarter of 2014, is expected to supply 23 GWh of electricity per year.
Etrion says the total project cost, including costs related to the licenses, permits, development and construction, is estimated at $25 million, a portion of which is expected to be financed through non-recourse debt with international financial institutions, with the remaining equity portion to be funded by Etrion.
Construction of the Aguas Blancas Solar Park, which is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of this year, is subject to Etrion's arranging the necessary debt financing and related transactions.
‘This is a very exciting achievement for the company as it demonstrates that solar can operate without government subsidies,’ says Etrion CEO Marco A. Northland. ‘Energy is a key concern in Chile, and given the high solar irradiation there, it is very exciting that solar is now becoming a viable and sustainable power alternative.’