Abengoa has commenced construction of the photovoltaic plant, which will be a part of Atacama 1 solar complex, located in Comuna de María Elena, Segunda Región, Chile.

Located in the Atacama Desert, the region with the highest level of solar radiation in the world, the Atacama 1 project will have an overall installed capacity of 210MW, including the first solar thermal plant in Latin America and a photovoltaic plant.

The 100MW photovoltaic plant, which is expected to be the largest of its type in the Grand North region, will feature 392,000 solar panels to capture the energy from the sun to deliver it directly to the grid.

The solar thermal electric plant, which has been under construction since 2014, will feature 10,600 heliostats and a solar field, covering approximately 700ha.

The plant will also feature a thermal storage system with molten salts that will enable delivery of stable energy throughout a day.

In addition to preventing the emission of around 870,000t of CO2 annually, the platform will allow to meet the energy demand from households and industry by combining both technologies.

The photovoltaic plant is planned to commence operation by the end of 2015 whereas the solar thermal plant will commence in the second quarter of 2017.