Mainstream Renewable Power has secured planning consent from the Chile’s Environmental Assessment Service for the proposed 245MW Escondido solar PV facility.

The $290m project involves construction of two solar parks located in the communes of Copiapó and Tierra Amarilla: Parque Solar Río Escondido and Parque Solar Valle Escondido.

Located in an area of approximately 422ha, the 145MW Río Escondido solar park will feature 550,368 photovoltaic panels.

The 100MW Valle Escondido Solar Park, which is located 49km from Copiapó, will comprise 382,000 panels spread on an area of approximately 360ha.

Mainstream Chile general manager Bart Doyle said: “The north of the country benefits from some of the highest levels of solar radiation in the world, and Chile has yet to properly promote and develop its solar energy resource.

“With the Escondido project we want to contribute by delivering clean energy for the region and the country, which will help diversify the energy mix and move towards sustainable development.”

The two solar farms are planned to be connected to the grid through a transmission line from the Río Escondido substation, located inside the park.

In 2016, National Energy Commission of Chile has awarded contracts to Mainstream to build and operate of $1.65bn worth of seven wind energy plants, with a combined capacity of 986MW.

Awarded through 20-year term contracts, the projects are scheduled to start supply of low-cost, clean energy into the grid from January 2021.

In Chile, Mainstream currently has more than 20 solar and wind projects in different stages of development.

Image: Mainstream’s solar PV plant in Droogfontein, South Africa. Photo: Courtesy of Mainstream Renewable Power.