Four ‘Good News’ Solar Stories

Clean Power

first solar

First Solar To Invest $100 Million Into Japanese Solar

Published on November 19th, 2013 | by Joshua S Hill

Japan hasn’t been a target market for companies like First Solar, due in part to the country’s reliance upon nuclear technology. However, as Japan attempts to move herself away from reliance upon nuclear — in the … Read More

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Clean Power

Photo credit: OregonDOT / Foter.com / CC BY

500MW Of Solar Plants Due For Construction In Uganda

Published on November 18th, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown

The government of Uganda has just signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the construction of four large solar power plants totaling 500 megawatts (MW) of capacity! According to PV-Tech, these solar power plants will be … Read More

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Clean Power

Image Credit: Chile Flag via Shutterstock

181 MW Of Solar Projects Approved For Chile

Published on November 18th, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown

The Environmental Evaluation Service of Chile (SEA) recently approved the construction of two solar power plants totaling 181 megawatts (MW). The plants are titled Project Pampa Sur and Project Pampa Norte. They are to be developed … Read More

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Clean Power

SolarCity-logoNEWS

SolarCity Leads Way Into Low-Interest Solar Financing That Could Be Huge Boost To Solar Industry

Published on November 17th, 2013 | by Giles Parkinson

Originally published on RenewEconomy. The solar industry has achieved another significant breakthrough, after US solar leasing specialist SolarCity issued the first asset back notes for the solar industry, and achieved an interest rate significantly below expectations. … Read More

US Solar Company To Build Unsubsidized 70 MW Solar Farm In Chile

by Zachary Shahan

SunPower solar farm via SunPower

What’s better than solar power? Unsubsidized solar power that’s already cheaper than still subsidized fossil fuels. And Chile’s getting it. Notably, one of the big solar PV projects it now has planned is to be built by a US company that has mostly just been involved in the manufacturing of solar modules (not the building of solar projects).

Several solar PV module companies have begun to diversify and jump into the solar developer realm in order to improve their finances and take even more advantage of the booming solar market. US SunPower is one such company. SunPower has long been a leader in commercial solar module efficiency, and also one of the top 10 (or even often top 5) solar module producers in the world. The company has quickly jumped into the hot Chile solar market. SunPower is now set to build Project Salvador, an unsubsidized 70MWp PV power plant in the Atacama Desert region of Chile.

The project will reportedly be the “largest merchant solar power station in the world,” with the electricity being sold on the regional spot market.

Ownership of the solar PV power plant will be as follows:

  • 70% independent power producer Etrion
  • 20% majority SunPower shareholder Total (Total owns 66% of SunPower)
  • 10% Spanish renewable energy firm Solventus Energias Renovables

The solar PV power plant is projected to produce enough electricity for approximately 60,000 people per year, 200 GWh.

Of course, the power plant will use SunPower technology. This includes SunPower’s Oasis Power Blocks — a fully integrated system that uses SunPower solar panels and single-axis trackers.

SunPower again started making a profit in quarter 2 of 2013, and its stock price approximately quadrupled in the first two, rebound quarters of 2013.

The 70 MW, unsubsidized Project Salvador solar farm will cost approximately $200 million. Construction is projected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2013, following the financial closing for the project. Electricity from the SunPower solar farm is projected to begin delivery in the first quarter of 2015.

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This article, US Solar Company To Build Unsubsidized 70 MW Solar Farm In Chile, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Zachary Shahan is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

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Deutsche Bank Views Chile As Subsidy-free Solar Market

By Giles Parkinson  — Special to JBS News

Originally published on RenewEconomy
by Sophie Vorrath

Despite having no feed-in tariffs or subsidies to speak of, the Chilean solar market is among the first in the world to prove self-sustaining, with new projects able to be produced at or below grid parity, according to new research by Deutsche Bank.

With only three solar plants connected to the grid – constituting a total capacity of 3.5 MW – and around 70 MW under construction, Chile had already achieved grid parity for solar PV in some parts of the country by midway through last year.

In June 2012, Spanish-based Solarpack revealed their 1MW grid-connected PV plant in Chile was able to generate and sell energy at market prices without any public subsidies. The project was funded entirely by the developer.

In Deutsche Bank’s new report; Chilean Market: At Grid Parity, But Not Without Challenges (a follow up to its global assessment of solar markets, which concluded many were near a major inflection point) – it says that the Chilean market is exciting primarily because solar development in the region does not require any government incentive.

Deutsche says high power prices coupled with high solar penetration levels in the north of the country are enabling grid parity and fueling a robust pipeline of projects.

Screen-Shot-2013-08-21-at-10.16.22-AM

The investment bank estimates that fully equity-funded Chile solar installations will be able to generate electricity at an LCOE of $0.12-0.18/kWh, making solar cost competitive with traditional forms of generation, which costs between $0.15-0.25/kWh.

Despite this potential, the report warns that the solar market in Chile “will favor experienced players with patience,” with its ~3.1GW backlog facing various difficult challenges. “We expect extensive permitting and offtake needs will translate into a reduced funnel of viable projects as pipelines move forward,” says the report.

Deutsche says the Chilean electricity market is characterised by high prices, near total private ownership, and extensive industrial sector demand particularly from the mining sector. Currently, around 18.3GW of installed capacity is dominated by natural gas, hydro and coal generation.

In this environment, says the report, there could be some difficulty in bringing new capacity to market, with the necessary additional transmission and distribution assets likely to be slow to develop.

Deutsche says it expects the majority of Chile’s near-term solar installations to be located in the Sistema Interconectado Del Norte Grande (SING) – the biggest of Chile’s four electricity networks, located in the drier north of the country – which may lead to difficulties in implementation and integration into the grid.

SING has a current capacity of 4.6GW, says the report, with only 1.4MW of installed solar. “It is not currently connected by any major transmission lines and it will be years before this happens, which leads to further integration difficulty.”

But, as has been predicted for Australia, it could be Chile’s mining sector that comes to the rescue of the fledgling solar market. As the Deutsche report notes, poor grid reliability and rising electricity costs are driving companies in the world’s largest copper producer to consider self generation or collaboration on solar projects.

The report notes that self-generation projects like this not only appear attractive for mining companies in need of reliable low-cost generation, but are also separate from the grid and therefore represent additional upside of reduced permitting requirements.

“While the pipeline of solar projects in Chile may face some regulatory and logistic hurdles, we expect strategic partnerships with mining companies to be a good source of growth for solar companies.

Mining companies appear to be among first movers helping to bring projects to completion as they seek to shore up their long-term electricity needs and improve their environmental image. Long term PPA’s have been signed in the $100-120/MWh range which is competitive with gas (~$120s/MWh) and coal (~$80s/MWh), with no commodity risk.

Furthermore, solar generation built for an industrial mining complex or otherwise not feeding directly into the grid will not count towards the renewable generation mandated by law. We, therefore, expect the mining sector to represent an additional attractive source of demand.” — Report

About the Author

is the founding editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia’s energy grid with great interest.

This article, Deutsche Bank Views Chile As Subsidy-free Solar Market, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.