Chile Is Producing So Much Solar Energy It’s Giving Electricity Away for Free

Written by Lorraine Chow and reposted with permission from EcoWatch

Thanks to Chile’s major investments in renewables, the Latin American country is seeing an incredible solar boom.

In a new Bloomberg report, “Chile Has So Much Solar Energy It’s Giving It Away for Free,” solar capacity from the country’s central grid has increased four fold to 770 megawatts since 2013. Another 1.4 gigawatts will be added this year with many solar power projects under development.

Thanks to an economic boost from increased mining production, Chile now has 29 solar farms and another 15 in the pipeline. Enel Green Power Chile Ltda. recently commissioned Chile’s largest solar PV project connected to the grid. The 160-megawatt facility will be located in the northern part of the country in the municipality of María Elena, about 1,300 kilometers north of Santiago.

With so much clean power available, the price of solar has cost absolutely nothing for certain regions in recent months. As Bloomberg stated:

Spot prices reached zero in parts of the country on 113 days through April, a number that’s on track to beat last year’s total of 192 days, according to Chile’s central grid operator.

However, the article points out that Chile’s rapid solar expansion isn’t all good news. Due to the nation’s bifurcated power grid, the central and northern grids are not connected.

PV Insider noted that most of the demand is in the central grid, yet the best solar resource in the country resides in the Atacama desert in the north. The northern grid represents approximately 24 percent of installed capacity whereas the central grid holds the majority of capacity at 74 percent of installed megawatts.

The northern grid is where solar prices are going to zero, Bloomberg noted. Meanwhile, the main population centers in the south are not seeing the same benefits.

Chile, therefore, must invest in its transmission infrastructure in order for the whole country to tap into the north’s glut solar power and stabilize demand.

“Chile has at least seven or eight points in the transmission lines that are collapsed and blocked, and we have an enormous challenge to bypass the choke points,” Energy Minister Maximo Pacheco told the publication. “When you embark on a path of growth and development like the one we’ve had, you obviously can see issues arising.”

The good news is that the Chilean government is addressing the problem with its planned 1,865-mile transmission line that will link the two grids by 2017.

77 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Charles Brexel Sr.
Charles Brexel Sr.about a year ago

* Those who still support nat gas pipes; fracking; nat gas, nuke or coal power; coal mining; Gulf of Mex, Arctic or Atlantic Ocean, any offshore or any new onshore drilling are stuck in the past

* It is perfectly clear that every country in world, many thousands of companies and scores of billions of investment dollars are rushing to install only solar, wind or geotherm - there are absolutely no excuses (NONE) for installing any nat gas pipes, nat gas, nuke or coal power at all and no excuses (NONE) for supporting fracking anywhere

* In 2015, about 90% of all installed, new power in world was solar and wind

* As of 1/1/16 and before, solar and wind are now the PREFERRED OPTIONS for new installs around the world - and that is for 9 out of every 10 new power plants

* Solar and wind are already cheaper than nat gas or coal power - and they will continue to get cheaper for 10 yrs or more

* It is perfectly clear that every country in world, many thousands of companies and scores of billions of investment dollars are rushing to make or use all-electric cars, vans, SUVs, buses, trucks and trains

* It is perfectly clear that we will have many hundreds of thousands of new, 200( ) mile range all-electrics on the road in 2017 and 18 when the affordable 17 Chevy Bolt, 17 Honda Clarity, 18 Tesla Model 3, new 18 Nissan Leaf, new 18 Ford, new 18 Hyundai SUV and many other manufacturers' 200( ) range all-electrics will be massively bought

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joanne p.
joanne p1 years ago

ty

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joanne p.
joanne p1 years ago

ty

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joanne p.
joanne p1 years ago

ty

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joanne p.
joanne p1 years ago

ty

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joanne p.
joanne p1 years ago

ty

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joanne p.
joanne p1 years ago

ty

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Elaine W.
Past Member 1 years ago

Great example and such good news.

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Beth D.
Beth D1 years ago

Spot on, Fred!! It is so sad that we suffer from our so-called leaders. They only lead us into poverty.

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