Cerro Dominador is the first CSP project in Latin America. Image courtesy of Cerro Dominador.
Construction on the Cerro Dominador solar project was started in 2014. Image courtesy of Cerro Dominador.
The Cerro Dominador project comprises a 100MW PV plant and an 110MW CSP plant. Image courtesy of Cerro Dominador.

Cerro Dominador project is a 210MW hybrid concentrated solar power (CSP) and photovoltaic (PV) power complex under construction on a 1,000ha-site, approximately 60km away from Calama at Maria Elena in the Atacama Desert, Chile.

Construction on the $1.4bn project, which consists of a 100MW PV plant and 110MW CSP plant, was started in 2014.

The PV plant was commissioned in February 2018, while the Cerro Dominador CSP plant, the first solar thermal power project in Latin America, is expected to commence operation by the end of 2019.

The solar power facility will offset 870,000 tonnes (t) of CO2 emissions a year.

The power complex will also be equipped with 17.5 hours of thermal storage capacity for continuous power supply.

Cerro Dominador project ownership and financing details

The hybrid solar power project is owned and being developed by Cerro Dominador, a Chilean company owned by investment funds run by the US-based  EIG Global Energy Partners, which is based in the US.

APW1, a joint venture between Abengoa (45%) and EIG (55%), was formed to develop the project, in March 2015. EIG, however, assumed full ownership and control of the project in October 2016.

Cerro Dominador secured $758m of financing for the CSP project from a group of international financial institutions and local banks including Natixis, Deutsche Bank, Société Générale, ABN AMRO, Santander, Commerzbank, and BTG Pactual, in May 2018.

Cerro Dominador CSP plant make-up

The Cerro Dominador concentrated solar power plant will be developed with 10,600 heliostats spread over a 700ha-site surrounding an 820ft-tall central tower.

With a reflective surface area of 140m² each, the heliostats will track the sun on two axes and focus the solar power at the receiver located at 720ft height on the central tower.

The concentrated heat will then be absorbed by cold molten salts. The resultant hot salts will be stored in two tanks.

The inlet and outlet temperature for the receiver will be 300ºC and 550ºC, respectively.

The hot salts will be extracted from the tanks to transfer the heat to water and generate steam for power generation.

Cerro Dominador photovoltaic plant details

The 100MW Cerro Dominador PV plant consists of 392,000 solar panels mounted on single-axis trackers on a 300ha-site.

The PV plant commenced operation with 62MW of its installed capacity connected to the Chilean grid in August 2017.

The plant achieved its full capacity in December 2017.

Key players involved with the Cerro Dominador solar  project

Abengoa was responsible for the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of the Cerro Dominador PV plant.

A consortium of ACCIONA Industrial (51%) and Abengoa (49%), both being Spanish companies, received the notice to proceed with the construction of the CSP plant in July 2018.

ACCIONA leads the project management and construction, while Abengoa is the technology partner for the CSP portion.

Cerro Dominador engaged Worley Parsons to oversee the engineering and construction of the hybrid solar complex in February 2017.

Doosan Skoda Power was contracted to supply two steam turbines for the project. It subcontracted Flenco Fluid System for the supply of auxiliary systems for the CSP plant of the Cerro Dominador project.