AES Gener Breaks Ground for the First Solar-Plus-Storage Plant in Chile

published: 2020-11-09 18:30 | editor: | category: News

Chilean power producer AES Gener announced on October 15 that it has commenced construction of a solar-plus-storage plant named Andes Solar II-B and a wind farm named Campo Lindo. A virtual event to celebrate the groundbreaking of both projects was held on the same day and attended by Juan Carlos Jobet, Chile’s Minister of Energy.

Andes Solar II-B is notable for being the first solar-plus-storage plant in Chile. It is located in Antofagasta Region, which is in the northern part of the country. The solar array of the project has a generation capacity of 180MW, while the energy storage system has a storage capacity of 112MW. According to reporting from media, Andes Solar II-B has the largest energy storage system based on the lithium-ion battery technology in Latin America to date.

Andes Solar II-B also serves as a trial site for the Maverick solar array technology developed by Australian solar firm 5B. The Maverick system is prefabricated, foldable, and portable. Its modular design shortens the installation time by one-third and doubles the output with the same surface area when compared with conventional solar arrays.

For Andes Solar II-B, AES Gener will be installing 10MW of the Maverick systems and 170MW of ground-mounted PV systems that feature bifacial modules that can generate on both sides. Bifacial modules have also been adopted for the recent expansion of Andes Solar II-A, which began construction earlier this year and is set to have a generation capacity of 80MW. Another 59MW solar project that is being planned by AES Gener in the town of San Fernando in northern Colombia will see the deployment of bifacial modules as well.

As mentioned earlier, the 112MW energy storage system of Andes Solar II-B is the largest in the region. It is supplied by Fluence, an energy storage developer backed by Siemens and AES. In terms of technologies and features, the lithium-ion batteries of Fluence systems can provide up to five hours of discharge. The official press release about the groundbreaking of Andes Solar II-B states that the energy storage system of the project is based on Fluence’s sixth-generation Sunstack technology. Like the Maverick system, the Sunstack system is also prefabricated and modular in design. It therefore offers a high degree of scalability and cost efficiency.

Regarding the Campo Lindo wind farm, this project is situated near the town of Los Ángeles in the Biobío Region, which represents the central part of Chile. The wind farm itself consists of several sites that together has a total generation capacity of 480MW. The reason behind the cluster layout is to enable economies of scale during construction and operation.

Ricardo Falú, CEO of AES Gener, stated that Andes Solar II-B and the Campo Lindo wind farm are key parts of the company’s Greentegra strategy that aims to help Chile in accelerating its energy transition and enhancing its power electric system with respect to sustainability as well as competitiveness.

By developing new and innovative solutions under the Greentegra framework, AES Gener hopes to not only become a regional leader in renewable energies but also expand into overseas markets. Based on its current plans, AES Gener will be adding more than 2,300MW of renewable generation and energy storage to its project portfolio by 2024.

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