Global solar power producer Sonnedix has started construction on a 171MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in the Atacama Desert in Chile.
As part of the initiative, a ground-breaking ceremony was organised at the site and was attended by the company as well as government officials of the region.
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 project will be built with an investment of $180m and is expected to become operational in December 2020.
During the construction period, the project is expected to create 400 employment opportunities in the region.
The new solar power facility is expected to generate nearly 470GWh of renewable energy annually that will be sufficient to power more than 100,000 homes in the region. It will have the capacity to offset around 200,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.
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.”
Since 2015, Sonnedix has been present in the Chilean market and currently has more than 200MW of utility-scale solar PV projects that have commenced operations or are in the construction stage.