Pozo Almonte: First large-scale solar energy project in Chile
Chile’s increasing dependence on fossil fuels has caused a rise in the marginal cost of energy, making electricity prices in Chile among the highest in the world. As energy consumption in Chile grows by an estimated 6-7 percent annually, the country is investing heavily in renewable energy.
Solar energy is a natural choice. The Atacama Desert is among the driest regions on earth, with minimal cloud cover and high solar radiation, making it the ideal place for Chile to harvest solar energy.
To help the country tap into this potential, the IDB and the Canadian Climate Fund (C2F) are providing $41.4 million financing to build three solar photovoltaic power plants with a combined output capacity of 26.5 megawatts peak in the Atacama Desert.
The project will help to bridge the gap between energy supply and demand by using a local energy source that is clean, competitive, and abundant in the country and that can be developed quickly to boost the growth of the Chilean economy.
The project is currently being built by Solarpack Corporación Tecnológica, S.L. and is expected to:
- Contribute toward diversifying Chile’s energy matrix through local renewable energy sources whose current generating capacity is 75 percent dependent on imported fuels.
- Reduce the country’s carbon footprint – CO2 emissions will decrease by 56,000 tons per year
- Replace fossil fuels with solar power for the country’s thriving mining industry which consumes 18 percent of the country’s electricity and accounts for 19 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
- Support Chile’s National Energy Strategy to more than double the use of renewable energy in the country’s energy matrix over the next 10 years