Swiss power producer Etrion has announced that it is to build a 25.9 MW PV plant in Chile’s Antofagasta region following the company’s Project Salvador development.
The company recently released an update on its activities in Chile and Japan and completed a major PV project in Chile in November 2014. The 70 MW Salvador solar park in northern Chile (Project Salvador) was completed several months ahead of schedule and under budget. Etrion holds a 70 percent stake in Project Salvador with another 20 percent owned by Total S.A. and 10 percent by a local developer. The park was built by SunPower Corporation with which it has a long-term, fixed-price operation and maintenance agreement.
“I am very pleased with the significant progress our Chilean team has achieved to date in construction and development” said Marco A. Northland, Etrion’s Chief Executive Officer. “Etrion is one of the early movers in solar power generation in Chile and today has 70 MW operational and more than 99 MW under development.”
Mr Northland added that Chile is one of the most attractive solar markets in the world as it has high solar irradiation as well as an investment grade credit rating, a deregulated electricity sector with contracts denominated in US dollars, significant energy demand from the mining sector and high wholesale electricity prices. This combination of factors resulted in the country being one of the first solar markets in the world to reach grid parity.
During its commissioning and testing stage in 2014, Project Salvador generated around 6.7 million kWh of electricity. It is expected to enter full operational phase in February 2015 and will initially operate on a merchant basis where the electricity will be sold on the spot market and delivered to the Sistema Interconectado Central (“SIC”) electricity network. The project expects to sign a long-term power purchase agreement with an investment grade off-taker in Q1-2015.
Etrion has an advanced development project pipeline in Chile consisting of four projects with a total capacity of 99 MW. These projects are owned by Etrion and are expected to have permits in place in the first quarter of 2015.
The Aguas Blancas solar projects in the Antofagasta region include three sites, 2A, 2B and 2C, with a total capacity of 72 MW in the Sistema Interconectado del Norte Grande (SING) electricity network. A fourth project, Las Luces, is a 27 MW solar project in the Atacama region with one site in the SIC electricity network. The projects are expected to be operational within twelve months from the date construction commences.
Etrion owns 130 MW of installed solar capacity in Italy and Chile and has 34 MW of solar projects under construction in Japan.