Sonnedix begins construction on solar plant in Atacama Desert, Chile


Sonnedix, a solar independent power producer, has commenced construction on Sonnedix Atacama Solar, a 171MWp solar PV plant, in the Pica district in the Atacama Desert in Chile.

Upon completion, the Sonnedix Atacama Solar PV plant will generate around 470GWh of clean electricity annually and avoid the emission of 200,000 tonnes of CO2 per year compared with thermal generation.

One of the largest solar power projects in Chile, the $180m (£149m) plant will generate enough electricity to power more than 100,000 homes.

Tarapacá Regional Mayor Miguel Angel Quezada said: “In 2017 we had 20% clean energy in the region; in 2018 this increased to 40%. Today we are at 65%, and by the end of the year, we will reach 83% of clean energy in our regional energy production mix.”

The renewable energy power plant is expected to create around 400 direct jobs during the construction phase for the residents of Pica and nearby communities.

Sonnedix chairman Carlos Guinand said: “Sonnedix Atacama Solar will help support Chile’s commitment to use 100% renewable energy by 2040.

“The start of construction of Sonnedix Atacama Solar marks an important day for Sonnedix and the beginning of a long-term commitment and partnership with the Tarapacá region and the local communities of Pica and Pozo Almonte.

“Being a good neighbour is key to Sonnedix achieving its goal of smartly transforming the sun’s power into clean energy.”

The Sonnedix Atacama Solar PV plant is expected to commence commercial operation in December 2020.

Ministry of Energy project manager Iván Cheuquelaf said: “The start of the construction of the Sonnedix Atacama Solar photovoltaic plant not only represents an important milestone for the municipality of Pica and for the entire Tarapacá region, but also allows us to continue tilting the balance towards the participation of renewable energies.”

Sonnedix has a total capacity of more than 1.7GW globally and 200 operating plants across the eight countries where it currently operates.

The company has been present in Chile since 2015 and has more than 200MW of utility-scale solar photovoltaic projects in operation or construction and several others at various stages of development in the South American country.


Image: Sonnedix begins construction on Atacama solar plant in Chile. Photo: Courtesy of Sonnedix.

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