“Chile is a gold mine for CSP,” said an insider who has been providing light and heat consultations for Chile’s government-owned production agency for solar energy (CORFO) for a long time.
“In recent years, the cost of global solar thermal power generation has rapidly declined, and the cost of solar thermal power generation technology will decline by about 40% between 2015 and 2025. IRENA predicts that by 2025, the cost of trough and tower solar thermal power generation It will drop to 11 cents/kWh and 9 cents/kWh, respectively. The global core CSP market will start its explosive growth in 2018."
The continuous reduction in the cost of CSP is due to the local labor force, superior solar energy resources, and a good financing environment. In general, Chile is recognized as the perfect market for the development of CSP in the industry. The specific cost advantages are listed as follows:
1. The local cheap labor.
2. The scale of the CSP project being developed is large and has a scale effect. Typical projects include the re-opening Cerro Dominador 110MW molten salt tower project by Abengo; the 390MW Likana, 260MWCOPIAP and 450MW Tamarugal molten salt tower solar thermal power projects developed by SolarReserve in the United States (see the project description below).
3. rich in light resources. According to the results of a study conducted by the University of Chile and the University of Antofagasta, the solar radiation in the Atacama desert in northern Chile reaches 7.5 kilowatts per square meter per hour, and in some areas it even exceeds 9 kWh per square meter per day. The value can be as high as 3300 kWh/m2/year, ranking first in the world.
4. The political and financial conditions are stable. According to relevant government agencies in Chile, solar energy will become the country’s main power source in 2030. It is expected that solar energy will cover more than 30% of the national demand; on the economic front, debt risk from exchange rate changes will be avoided, and financing costs will be low. U.S. dollar-denominated electricity contracts have also created ideal financing and investment conditions.
Thanks to extremely favorable natural conditions, Chile has not only the lowest photovoltaic power generation price in the world, but also has the lowest cost of solar thermal power generation through a number of light and heat projects. In Chile's national public auctions, clean energy prices can easily beat fossil fuel prices without subsidies.
The Chile Solar Committee was founded by the Production Promotion Agency (CORFO) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Chile as a government agency to promote the implementation of solar energy projects in Chile. Its main tasks include supporting solar energy projects, clarifying activities related to the development of the solar energy industry, accelerating the integration of production, learning and research, providing opportunities for exchanges between research institutions and enterprises, promoting the transformation of research results, and nurturing local industrial chains.