PICA, CHILE – Sonnedix, a global solar independent power producer, announced the start of the construction of Sonnedix Atacama Solar, a 171MWp solar PV plant located in the Pica district in the Atacama Desert in Chile, with a groundbreaking ceremony at the project site.
Once completed, the Sonnedix Atacama Solar PV plant will generate approximately 470GWh of clean electricity annually and avoid the emission of around 200,000 metric tons of CO2 per year[i] compared with thermal generation. Among the largest solar power projects in Chile, the plant will generate enough electricity for more than 100,000 homes when operational.
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Miguel Angel Quezada, Regional Mayor of Tarapacá; Iván Cheuquelaf, Project Manager at the Ministry of Energy; Axel Thiemann, CEO of Sonnedix; Carlos Guinand, Chairman of Sonnedix; Sergio del Campo, Sonnedix Director of Operations in Chile, and other local authority representatives.
With an investment of USD 180 million (EUR 160 milllion), the renewable energy power plant will create around 400 direct jobs during the construction phase, providing opportunities for the residents of Pica and nearby communities. The Sonnedix Atacama Solar PV plant is expected to start commercial operation in December 2020.
Miguel Angel Quezada, Regional Mayor of Tarapacá, said:
“In 2017 we had 20% clean energy in the region; in 2018 this increased to 40%. Today we are at 65%, and by the end of the year, we will reach 83% of clean energy in our regional energy production mix.”
Carlos Guinand, Chairman of Sonnedix, 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.”
Iván Cheuquelaf, Project Manager at the Ministry of Energy, 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.”
Sonnedix has a total controlled capacity of over 1.7GW around the world and 200 operating plants across the eight countries where it currently operates. Present in Chile since 2015, Sonnedix currently has over 200MW of utility scale solar photovoltaic projects in operation or construction and several hundred MW of capacity at various stages of development in the Chilean market.