PowerChina has finished building a 480 MW solar plant in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, which is recognized for having the world’s highest solar radiation levels.
PowerChina Chile, Renewable Energy – a unit of energy and infrastructure developer PowerChina – has finished building a 480 MW solar plant in María Elena, in Chile’s Antofagasta region.
Claudio Araya Aguilar, the company’s head of human resources and labor relations, announced the plans on LinkedIn. He said that the facility he manages is now Chile’s largest operational solar farm.
The company built the plant with 882,720 panels provided by an undisclosed manufacturer, on a plot of land spanning 435 hectares.
Araya Aguilar said that the company is using an unspecified robotic panel cleaning technology to reduce water consumption by 80% at the facility.
The project is connected to a 9.6 km transmission line that will connect to the National Electric System at the Miraje Substation.
Construction work began in June 2022 under the Generadora Metropolitana joint venture between Chilean power company AME and France’s EDF. They said at the end of 2021 that they had obtained $980 million of financing, part of which would be invested in the construction of the solar plant.
Before this project, the largest solar plant in Chile was the Guanchoi facility, at 398 MW. It was developed by Enel Green Power Chile and began commercial operations in July 2023.
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