Enel starts building Chile's largest solar project

Italian group's 382MW Campos de Sol accounts for about half of all PV capacity currently under construction in nation

Italian utility Enel has started construction of the 382MW Campos del Sol project in Chile, the country’s largest solar power plant currently under construction.

Enel’s local unit, Enel Green Power Chile, will invest a total of $320m in the project located in the northern Atacama province, the country’s most promising solar district.

French oil giant Total and US renewable power group Sunpower are building the second-largest PV project, the first 158MW stage of the Santa Isabel solar complex, also in the Atacama region.

Campos del Sol will be operational by the end of 2020 and will be built with bi-facial solar panels and remote monitoring, with control via GPS and drones, the company said.

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Enel’s project is equivalent to about half of new Chilean solar capacity that is under construction and scheduled to come online by the end of 2020.

Chile has currently 2.5GW of solar PV capacity in operation, accounting for half of the country’s 5GW total renewable energy capacity, or 21% of the country’s total capacity. The remainder is wind (1.6GW), biomass, small hydro and geothermal plants.

With 12-18% of the country’s power needs now being supplied by renewables, Chile is on track to reach its 20% legal target of power supply by 2025.

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