Rubi solar photovoltaic (PV) plant is located in Moquegua district, Peru. Image courtesy of Enel Green Power.
Rubi is the first solar PV plant built by Enel Group in Peru. Image courtesy of Enel Green Power.
The Rubi solar power plant is installed with 560,880 photovoltaic panels. Image courtesy of Enel Peru.

Electric power generation company Enel, through its subsidiary Enel Green Power (EGP), commissioned its 180MW Rubi solar power plant in Peru in March 2018. The photovoltaic (PV) power plant is located in the Moquegua district of Mariscal Nieto province.

Rubi is the first and the biggest solar plant built by Enel in Peru through its Peruvian subsidiary, Enel Green Power Peru (EGPP). The plant construction started in November 2016 and involved an estimated investment of more than $170m.

The Rubi solar PV plant will generate more than 440GWh of energy a year, which will be sufficient to meet the needs of 351,000 Peruvian households. It will also offset the emission of more than 267,000t of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere a year.

Rubi solar power plant location

The Rubi solar PV plant is spread over 400ha in a desert in the province of Mariscal Nieto in the southern part of Peru. The 180MW project is neighboured by the 126MW Nazca wind farm in Marcona in southern Peru.

Southern Peru was selected as the location of the project due to the high levels of solar irradiation in the region.

Rubi solar PV plant make-up and power transmission

The Rubi solar PV plant is installed with 560,880 PV panels equipped with trackers to follow the sun’s movement. The electrons in the panels get activated upon exposure to sunlight and generate electricity.

The generated electricity is captured by 41 conversion units installed underground and transformed from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).

The electricity produced at the plant is transported to the Montalvo transmission substation through 21km-long high voltage lines from where it is delivered to the National Interconnected Power System (SEIN) network.

Financing for Rubi solar power plant

Rubi solar PV is partly financed through Enel Group’s own resources and in part by the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Power purchase agreement

“The Rubi solar PV plant is installed with 560,880 PV panels.”

Enel has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Peru’s Ministry of Energy and Mines to supply the power generated by the plant to SEIN.

The PPA was awarded as part of a public renewable energy tender announced in 2015 by Peru’s energy regulator Osinergmin. Enel was awarded the 132MW Wayra I wind farm and the 20MW Ayanunga hydro facility apart from the Rubi solar plant in the tender.

Contractors involved

Prodiel, an engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance services company based in Spain, was awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) works contract for the project.

Marketing commentary on the Peruvian power market

Peru is the third biggest country in South America and is one of the fastest growing economies in the region. Rapid development in the country has led to increase in demand for electricity by 90% between 2005 and 2015. Further, the energy demand in the country is growing by 9% a year and is projected to increase to 6,140MW by 2020.

Oil and natural gas comprise majority of the energy matrix in Peru, at 79%, although the renewable energy sector is emerging as an important contributor to the energy mix. Solar and wind are the fastest growing sectors in the renewable energy sector.

Solar energy potential in the country is between 6kWh/m² and 6.5kWh/m² of daily incident energy.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines (MINEM) of Peru aims for a  renewable energy share of 33% by 2021 to meet the growing demand for electricity in the region and to tap into the abundant solar energy available in the country.