The Chilean Government has awarded environmental permit to SolarReserve for the development of 260MW Copiapó solar power project in the Atacama region.

The Copiapó solar project will feature SolarReserve’s concentrating solar power (CSP) tower technology with molten salt thermal energy storage technology integrated with solar photovoltaic panels (PV).

Designed to generate non-intermittent baseload power to the central interconnected system (SIC), the facility is planned to be commissioned in 2019.

SolarReserve development senior vice-president Tom Georgis said: "The solar thermal energy storage technology realistically has the potential to power the entire country of Chile using two phenomenal Chilean resources, salt and sun."

Expected to produce over 1,800GWh of power annually, the Copiapó project has completed comprehensive environmental assessment under the Chilean impact assessment system, Sistema de Evaluación de Impacto Ambiental (SEIA).

SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith said: "One of the fundamental goals for SolarReserve is minimizing the environmental impacts of our projects at every stage – from site selection and construction, to full operational use.

"Our proprietary solar energy storage technology provides a viable and cost competitive alternative to fossil-based electricity generation, with the potential to meaningfully reduce reliance on fossil fuels and associated carbon pollution that is contributing to climate change."