Chile has historically relied heavily on imported fossil fuels and hydropower despite huge solar energy potential in the Atacama Desert region, where the sun shines almost all year. Only 4% of energy needs in Chile are met by unconventional renewable energy, and IFC teamed up with SunEdison in 2012 to address this issue through a pair of solar projects. SunEdison Merchant’s project consists of the construction and operation of a 50.7 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in the Copiapo municipality, while the SunEdison CAP project consists of a 100 MW PV plant there. There projects are referred to as the San Andres and Amanecer projects, respectively.
Energy that is produced from these projects will be injected into the Chilean Central Interconnected System (“SIC”) at prevailing spot market prices.
IFC & SunEdison
IFC provided the San Andres project with a loan of up to $38 million, and the Amanecer project with a loan of up to $65 million.
Energy Diversification These solar projects inject new renewable energy into the Chilean power system, helping the country to diversify its energy mix while helping to reduce energy costs and contribute to growing demand. This project is also significant as Chile has long been fossil fuel dependent in spite of its vast renewable resources.
Environment This project provides utility-scale, zero-emissions power generation to a country with vast energy resources. The full capacity of the Amanecer plant (100 MW) is expected to generate 2,700 kWh of clean energy per year, avoiding 135,000 tons of CO2 per year, or the equivalent of taking 30,000 automobiles out of circulation.
Economic The introduction of solar power into the energy mix in Chile will help contribute to national economic growth by reducing energy costs there. In addition, construction and operations are expected to create jobs.
By the Numbers
$38 million loan to San Andres, and $65 million loan to Amanecer
50.7 and 100 MW of solar photovoltaic power
135,000 tons of CO2 avoided per year (Note: This figure is for 100 MW project)