SunEdison, Inc. (NYSE:SUNE) has announced the company has secured financing for and started construction of the 110-megawatt Quilapilun solar power plant in the Metropolitan Region of Chile.
The first solar project for SunEdison in Santiago, it is expected to be its largest solar power generation facility in Latin America. The plant is forecast to generate 242 GWh of electricity annually, enough to power 117,000 homes, and will avoid approximately 125,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year.
The plant, which will supply the Sistema Interconectado Central (SIC) network, will also bring cheaper power to the region under long term power purchase agreements (solar PPA‘s) with local electricity companies.
“Solar energy has become cost competitive with other energy generation sources in the country,” Carlos Barrera, SunEdison vice president for Latin America ” With solar, we are able to supply regulated market consumers with clean energy at lower prices than they pay now.”
The USD $160 million financing needed for the project has been sourced from Chilean commercial bank CorpBanca and Norway’s DNB.
Once construction is complete, operation and maintenance of the power plant will be performed by SunEdison Services and the project will be acquired by SunEdison’s yieldco, TerraForm Power.
The facility is expected to be interconnected during the first quarter next year.
The Quilapilun plant is part of the 570 gigawatt hour (GWh) contract awarded to SunEdison by the Chilean National Energy Commission in December last year. Even by December 2014, the company already had a significant development presence in the country; with projects including the 100MW Amanecer Solar CAP plant, the 50.7 MW San Andrés solar farm and the 72.8 MW Maria Elena power station.
Chile has legislated a renewable energy target of 20% by 2025, but looks set to reach the 20% mark four to five years ahead of time. Chile added more than 1GW of ” NCRE” capacity last year. NCRE stands for non-conventional renewable energy and includes sources such as geothermal, wind, solar, biomass, tidal, small hydro and cogeneration.