China to Build New Solar Energy Plant in Chile

Chinese renewable energy company Sky Solar and China Development Bank have joined forces with the Chilean industrial group Sigdo Koppers to invest $900 million USD for a 300 megawatt (MW) solar energy project in Chile. China is planning on building one of the biggest solar power plants in Chile.

“Chile’s politically stable government and policies, strong investment environment, electricity demand and the government’s increasing focus on renewable energy makes it one of the most attractive photovoltaics markets in the world,” said Sky Solar in a statement.

The news comes after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his entourage paid official visits to four South American countries in June. In a statement, it was said that Premier Wen and Chilean President Sebastián Piñera “agreed to set up a structure for cooperation between the two governments and to develop a common action plan between the two countries.”

The solar park project is expected to get underway this year. The first stage will be a 2 MW pilot project, followed up by an 18 MW ground-mounted project. Once these two schemes are up and running, the remaining building works will begin and are expected to be carried out over the next 18 months.

“This collaboration formally begins the start of the grid-parity solar PV market in South America,” declared Sky Solar in a press statement. “Sky Solar has long been committed to the development of grid-parity PV markets.”

Currently, Chile derives 34% of its electricity from hydropower, but other forms of renewable energy only make up between 1-4% of the energy supply

Commercial concentrated solar power plants were first developed in the 1980s. The 354 MW Solar Energy Generating System installation is the largest solar power plant in the world, located in the Mojave Desert of California.

Michael Jacobson,