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Financing secured for world’s largest solar project

Total, Etrion Corporation and SunPower Corp have secured financing for construction of a 7MWp solar project in the Atacama region of Chile.

Project Salvador will be the world’s largest solar power plant based on spot market electricity (merchant) revenues, the companies say.

“We are excited to partner with Total, SunPower and Solventus on this landmark solar project that takes our business model beyond government subsidies,” said Marco A Northland, Etrion’s CEO. “This is Etrion’s first project to be financed and under construction in the Americas, and we look forward to working with the same partners on future projects. Project Salvador almost doubles our installed capacity and is expected to grow our cash flow by approximately 50%, transforming Etrion into a global solar power generation platform.”

“As the largest solar merchant power plant in the world, this project will deliver advanced solar generation, operation technologies and management practices while creating a significant positive impact on local businesses and people,” said Bernard Clement, senior vice president business operations, Total New Energies.

SunPower received notice to proceed with construction this week, and it is expected to start construction of Project Salvador in January, with full commissioning achieved in early 2015. The majority of the installation is expected to begin commercial operation during 2014. Once operational, Project Salvador is expected to produce approximately 200GW-hours of solar electricity per year, enough to supply electricity to approximately 80,000 households in Chile.

“This project represents an important milestone for the energy industry, proving that solar can provide wholesale power at prices competitive with conventional generation technologies,” said Howard Wenger, president, regions of SunPower. 

Project Salvador will initially operate on a merchant basis where the electricity produced will be sold on the spot market and delivered to the Sistema Interconectado Central (SIC) electricity network, with the ability to secure future power purchase agreements. The solar power plant will be built on 133 hectares leased from the Chilean government through a long-term concession.


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Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity