5. Pozo Almonte Solar Photovoltaic Plants, Chile

Case study written by:
Kevin Gurgey, MUP 2015 Candidate
Research core team:
Cristina Contreras ENV-SP
Hatzav Yoffe, ENV-SP
Julie Mercier, MDes Risk & Resilience 2015 candidate
Tarapacá, Chile
100 ha
2,400 meters above sea level
25 MW
US $ 80 million investment
13% of the yearly energy demand of the mining company

The Pozo Almonte 2 and Pozo Almonte 3 are the largest photovoltaic plants projects in Chile generating together about 25 MW of solar power. The two Pozo Almonte projects comprise 182 hectares in the Tarapacá region in rural northern Chile and are connected to the regional electrical power grid. For the first time in Chile, clean energy supply is combined with the operation of two mining companies: Compañía Minera Doña Inés de Collahuasi and Codelco. Taking advantage of its arid isolated high-altitude location, Pozo Almonte 2 and 3 have the capacity to meet the Chilean mining industry energy needs, calculated to account for 18% of the total national energy consumption. The project is expected to reduce 58,865 tons of CO2 per year for Chile and reduce the carbon footprint of the Collahuasi and Codelco mining operations.

The Spanish company SolarPack Corporación Tecnológica, S.L. owns, builds and operates the plants. SolarPack is bound by a 20-year long power purchase agreement to provide 60 GWh/year of non-conventional renewable energy with the mining company Collahuasi. In addition, SolarPack is in charge of the construction and operation of a 1 MW solar photovoltaic plant to sell energy under a 21-year power purchase agreement to Codelco for its Chuquicamata mine operations. All three components of the project have an estimated cost of US $80 million funded through a combination of equity and debt. Along with loans from IDB and other banks, the project is financed by the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in the Americas, a fund established by the Government of Canada and managed by IDB to catalyze increased private sector investment in climate change mitigation and adaptation.


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