Abengoa has officially started construction works on the photovoltaic plant that will form part of the Atacama 1 solar complex, located in the north of Chile (Comuna de María Elena, Second Region). This will be the largest solar platform in Latin America. The project is based in the middle of the Atacama Desert, the region with the highest level of solar radiation in the world. Atacama 1 will feature a PV plant with a capacity of 100 MW and the first solar thermal plant in Latin America, with 110 MW of installed capacity and 17.5 hours of thermal storage. The entire solar complex covers 1,000 hectares.
The photovoltaic plant will be the largest of its type in the Grand North region, with an installed capacity of 100 MW and 392,000 solar panels that capture energy from the sun to deliver it directly to the grid.
The complex will prevent the emission of around 870,000 tons of CO2 annually and thanks to the combination of both technologies will cover the energy demands of both homes and industry.
The PV plant is expected to start operation at the end of 2015 and the solar thermal plant in the second quarter of 2017.