Chile’s solar capacity grows to over 1.7 GW

Chile’s solar capacity grows to over 1.7 GW

By adding 700 MW of PV capacity to its grid, Chile brings its combined capacity up to 1,748 MW. With further projects already approved, the growth is bound to continue.


Chile’s ever-growing solar industry can look back to a successful 2017 so far: During the first 8 months of this year alone, a combined 700 MW of solar capacities were added to the country’s grid. According to a monthly report on renewables by its energy regulator, Comisión Nacional de Energía (CNE), this will increase Chile’s overall capacity to a new total of 1,748 MW.


Many projects in the pipeline as of 2016

At the end of 2016, about 1 GW of PV capacity was fully operational, and 1.2 GW were being tested. A further 14 GW of new projects were already approved, and 5.1 GW were being reviewed.


Further growth ahead

However, the Chilean solar industry will not stop growing at this point. In fact, 8 GW worth of PV projects are currently being reviewed by the country’s environmental offices, while 1.5 GW have already received green light and will soon be developed. In the meantime, 264 MW of solar projects are under construction, and another 308 MW are being tested. Thus, if all these projects receive approval and are finalized according to plan, over 10 GW will be added to Chile’s grid over the next few years.

According to CNE’s report, approval for two proposals for 9 MW solar projects has been sought from the Servicio de Evaluación Ambiental (SEA), a local environmental authority, in August. 168.5 MW worth of PV projects at three locations have already been approved by SEA. Furthermore, over 1,800 distributed-generation projects have been registered in the first 8 months of 2017 alone. Their combined capacity is 12.2 MW.


All renewables successful in Chile

The success of renewables in Chile is not only limited to solar. The overall capacity of operational renewable projects in the country reached almost 3 GW in August. While solar does account for most of this, wind is following closely behind with 1.3 GW. Biomass projects have reached 436 MW.


Title image: Martin D. Vonka/Shutterstock