Chile’s industry is extremely energy intensive, mainly driven by its huge mining sector, with demands continuously exceeding supply. As a result, electricity prices are on the rise and new projects are delayed due to the current energy shortage. In order to mitigate the problems, the government has introduced the law 20/25 by which 20% of all electricity production has to stem from renewables. Consequently, this positive climate led to the first installations of photovoltaic power plants, following previous installations of wind parks.
Generally, the northern regions of Chile offer the world’s highest solar irradiation and thus, together with strong demand for electricity, conditions for photovoltaic are ideal. However, grid access is often difficult and/or capacity limited.
Overall, Chile is an interesting, but limited market for photovoltaic power plants. Due to the lack of any direct government incentives solar power plants must – and can be – feasible just using merchant electricity prices to operate under so-called "grid-parity“.
AustrianSolar established a local presence in Santiago in 2013, with a team of 5 local experts. The first two projects, each 100MW, are currently under construction. Another project is planned for 2018.