Chile’s Environmental Assessment Service has approved Mainstream Renewable Power’s 245 MW Escondido Solar PV facility, making it one of the largest approved projects in the Atacama region.
It will involve an investment of US$290 million to construct and is split into two solar parks located in the communes of Copiapó and Tierra Amarilla: Parque Solar Río Escondido and Parque Solar Valle Escondido.
The Río Escondido Solar Park will be located in an area of approximately 422 hectares, 58 kilometres from the city of Copiapó. It will have 550,368 photovoltaic panels and will have a capacity of 145MW of power. The Valle Escondido Solar Park, located 49 kilometers from Copiapó, will have 382,000 panels located on an area of approximately 360 hectares, with an installed capacity of 100MW of power.
Commenting on the award of consent, Mainstream’s General Manager in Chile, Bart Doyle said:
“The north of the country benefits from some of the highest levels of solar radiation in the world, and Chile has yet to properly promote and develop its solar energy resource. With the Escondido project we want to contribute by delivering clean energy for the region and the country, which will help diversify the energy mix and move towards sustainable development.”
Mainstream Renewable Power has one of the largest portfolios of wind and solar projects in Chile with a more than 2,000MW in development from Arica in the North to Puerto Montt in the South. The company was the big winner of last year’s electricity tender, in which it was awarded 3,366 GWh in wind projects.
The new plant will be connected to the grid through a transmission line from the Río Escondido substation, located inside the park, which will be shared between both projects to reduce the environmental impact by half. Mainstream Renewable Power has been present in Chile since 2008, and has a portfolio of more than 20 solar and wind projects in different stages of development throughout the country.