Acciona Energía will build the first phase of the 7.2 MWp (6 MW nominal) Pampa Camarones Solar Park as a turnkey project being developed by the electrical power company E-CL, a subsidiary of GDF Suez and the main power generator in northern Chile. This was revealed today in a ceremony launching the project in the city of Arica. The plant is the first stage of a photovoltaic project by the developer that will eventually total 360 MWp (300 nominal MW).
It is located in the Atacama desert (one of the areas with the highest level of solar radiation in the world) around 50 kilometers south-east of Arica, and the plant will be constructed under an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract. It will be connected to the Sistema Interconectado del Norte Grande (SING), one of the four systems that make up the Chilean electric power grid. The launch ceremony for the project will start the construction work, which will take place over 8 months, and once the plant enters service ACCIONA Energía will undertake its operation and maintenance for 2 years.
The photovoltaic facility will generate around 18.1 GWh of clean electricity per year, equivalent to the consumption of around 7,000 northern Chilean households, and will avoid the emission of almost 19,000 metric tons of CO2 to the atmosphere from conventional coal-fired power stations.
Acciona Energía Chile General Manager Alfredo Solar explains that “We are very pleased to be working with E-CL so that Chile can take advantage of its enormous solar power potential and make progress towards the implementation of a more sustainable energy system, based on non-conventional renewables that are completely viable in sites like the one where this project is located”.
First solar project by ACCIONA in Chile
The plant will be the first using photovoltaic technology that ACCIONA will build in Chile, where it already has an extensive order portfolio of projects under development in wind and solar power. In the former, it is currently building the 45 MW Punta Palmeras wind farm in the province of Choapa. Its subsidiary Acciona Windpower has already supplied 60 MW of wind turbines for the Canela II wind farm.
In the photovoltaic field, Acciona Energía has long-standing experience in the installation of large plants (both its own and for customers) with over 115 MWp in service, such as the Amareleja plant (46 MWp) in Portugal, one of the biggest in the world equipped with solar tracking. It is currently building a 94 MWp shared ownership plant in South Africa and another 24 MWp facility in Australia – under an EPC contract – which will become the biggest photovoltaic plant in that country.
In addition to its activity in the field of energy, the Acciona Group has been present in Chile for 20 years and has developed major projects in infrastructure and water management industries. It operates the Ruta 160 concession in the south of the country, is building the first desalination plant for the mining industry in the Atacama desert (Valley of Copiapó), and has constructed four wastewater treatment plants.