Chilean President Michelle Bachelet inaugurated the Amanecer Solar CAP plant in Copiapó on June 8. The project was developed, built and interconnected by SunEdison, a worldwide leader in the photovoltaic solar energy sector, under an offtake agreement with CAP Group, the largest iron ore and pellet producer on the American Pacific coast.
The Amanecer Solar CAP plant has 100MW of total installed capacity--enough clean energy to power 125,000 homes each year. (It is also the equivalent of 10% of the renewable energy generation capacity goal established by the Chilean Government in 2014.) In its first year of operations the plant will be able to inject 270 GW/h of clean energy into the system. To generate the same amount of energy using diesel, the center would need more than 71 million liters of fuel.
The Amanecer Solar CAP project involves an investment of US$250 million and is critical for the future development of renewable energy in Chile and Latin America.
"This project has changed the course of non-conventional renewable energy development not only in Chile and Latin America, but throughout the world," said Ahmad Chatila, president and CEO of SunEdison. "Amanecer Solar CAP has become a benchmark for SunEdison in how to develop photovoltaic solar energy on an international level."
Located 37 kilometers from Copiapó in the middle of the Atacama Desert, the plant has more than 310,000 photovoltaic modules spread over 280 hectares. Amanecer Solar CAP was built in only six months and all of its energy is injected into the Central Interconnected System (SIC), thus contributing to reducing the system's energy costs.
"This plant demonstrates that photovoltaic solar energy is an ideal way of diversifying the energy matrix in Chile, reducing costs and contributing towards meeting the demand for clean and sustainable energy," said José Pérez, president of SunEdison for Europe, Africa and Latin America. "The 150MW+ interconnected by SunEdison in Chile is the starting point of our firm commitment to the future of energy consumption and the development of the energy industry in this country."