Chile to have cheaper, uninterrupted electricity 24 hours a day from this solar power facility

Rendering of SolarReserve's 450 MW Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Tamarugal Solar Project with 5.8 GW-hours of energy storage (Photo: Business Wire)

By Frank Sicoli / The Santiago Times Staff

SANTIAGO — SolarReserve is to build one of the world’s largest solar projects with energy storage in Chile after receiving environmental approval from the government.

Utilizing SolarReserve’s proprietary solar thermal energy storage technology, the Tamarugal Solar Project in the Tarapacá region of Chile, will comprise three 150 megawatt (MW) solar thermal towers, each with 13 hours of full load energy storage. With 5.8 gigawatt-hours of total energy storage capacity, the facility will deliver 450 megawatts of continuous output, resulting in over 2,600 gigawatt-hours generated annually.

It will operate at a capacity factor and availability percentage equal to that of a coal fired power plant, while providing a highly competitive price of power – and with zero emissions.

“SolarReserve’s proven technology is able to provide non-intermittent electricity from solar energy 24-hours a day, without requiring any fossil fuel,” said Tom Georgis, SolarReserve’s Senior Vice President of Development. “The Tamarugal project will help stabilize and lower electricity costs for Chilean families and businesses, while ensuring energy security for the country.”

SolarReserve is a leading global developer, owner and operator of utility-scale solar power projects, with more than $1.8 billion of projects in operation worldwide, and development and long-term power contracts for 480 megawatts of solar projects representing $2.9 billion of project capital.

The US company will be bidding energy and associated capacity, from Tamarugal and other Chilean projects, into the upcoming international public auction for 24-hour energy supply issued annually by Chile’s power distribution companies.

“What’s happening in Chile is a preview of the future of solar around the world. Even more remarkable than 24-hour a day solar, SolarReserve set a new benchmark for baseload solar pricing by bidding 63 dollars per megawatt hour, without subsidies, in Chile’s most recent auction for energy supply,” said Kevin Smith, SolarReserve’s Chief Executive Officer. “We’ve proven that solar can compete head-to-head with conventional energy on both functionality and cost.”

Since its formation in early 2008, SolarReserve has assembled a pipeline of over 13 gigawatts across the world’s most attractive, high growth renewable energy markets, including more than 1,400 megawatts of advanced projects in Chile.