A 110MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant built next to a 100MW solar plant in the heart of Chile’s Atacama Desert has been successfully synchronised with the South American country’s National Electricity System.
The newly commissioned CSP plant uses collectors on top of towers to heat molten salt, which is then stored in large tanks that can be used to generate electricity through a steam turbine.
The molten salt reserves can store up to 17.5 hours of energy storage, thus guaranteeing the production of 100% renewable electricity 24-hours a day, seven days a week. A similar plant had been approved for South Australia, but failed to secure finance.
The project was built by a consortium formed by Spanish green infrastructure firm Abengoa and Spanish renewables company Acciona, which was awarded the contract in 2018.
U.S. private equity firm EIG Global Energy Partners, which owns the solar PV and solar thermal complex known as Cerro Dominador, said it would provide the Chilean national grid with flexible, safe and reliable renewable energy.
“We are committed to continued investment in future CSP projects in Chile and other parts of the world,” said said R. Blair Thomas, the chairman and CEO of EIG.