Within the framework of the investment program that ACCIONA Energía is carrying out in Chile, the company has begun the construction of the Almeyda solar plant, the second with photovoltaic technology installed in the Atacama region, mainly to support the electricity supply contract signed with the National Mining Company (ENAMI).
Located in the municipalities of Chañaral and Diego de Almagro, 17 kilometers from the latter, the Almeyda solar plant will have a peak capacity of 62.1 MWp (54.2 MW rated) and an emission-free annual electricity generation capacity estimated at 167.5 gigawatt-hours (GWh), equivalent to the electricity demand of around 80,000 Chilean households.
The photovoltaic plant will be equipped with 187,620 modules (panels) mounted on horizontal tracking structures. It will cover 150 hectares in an area with one of the highest levels of solar radiation in the world, the Atacama Desert. The plant is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
As South America Director of ACCIONA Energía José Ignacio Escobar explained recently, “the capital expenditure plan ACCIONA is carrying out in Chile reflects the company’s long-term view and the confidence we have in the country’s energy development. Almeyda is reinforcing the project portfolio we have under way and the facility will enable us to back up the supply contract we have signed with the state-owned enterprise ENAMI”.
The Almeyda photovoltaic facility will create 500 jobs in the busiest phase of its construction. Following its entry into service, the new plant will avoid the emission of around 162,000 equivalent tonnes of CO2 from coal-fired power stations every year.
At present, ACCIONA Energía operates 291 MW in Chile (246 MW in the El Romero photovoltaic plant in the region of Atacama and 45 MW in the Punta Palmeras wind farm in the region of Coquimbo).
The company is currently constructing the 183-MW San Gabriel wind farm in La Araucanía, a region where another 84-MW wind farm will be installed. In 2019, construction work will also start on a new photovoltaic plant –Usya (64 MWp)- in the region of Antofagasta.
This construction effort will take the company’s total capacity in Chile to around 700 MW by 2020, i.e. three wind farms and three photovoltaic plants under its ownership in that country, with a total investment of approximately 1,000 million US dollars (833 million euros at current exchange rate).
Photo Caption: Almeyda will be equipped with horizontal tracking structures, as the installed by ACCIONA in another plant in Mexico.