Enel begins commercial operation of Chile’s largest solar plant

Guanchoi solar plant
Guanchoi solar plant. Credit: Enel Green Power.

The sun gives us enough energy that can meet the energy needs of the entire world. All we have to do is harness that energy and convert it into electrical energy using photovoltaic panels. However, to collect and convert this much energy, we need more solar power plants and proper infrastructure for solar energy collection and use.

Enel Green Power Chile, a branch of Enel Chile, has begun commercial operation of the country’s 398MW Guanchoi solar plant located in the Atacama region in the country.

The new plant is Enel’s third-largest solar plant worldwide and Chile country’s largest active solar plant.

The Guanchoi photovoltaic plant has received official authorization from the National Electricity Coordinator to begin commercial operation. After completing all performance and safety tests to ensure its correct operation, it became the country’s largest active solar plant.

Enel Green Power Chile is expected to produce more than 1,100 GWh yearly, which will power more than one million Chilean homes, avoiding around 900,000 tons of carbon emission into the atmosphere after connecting to Chile’s National Electricity System.

Guanchoi’s new plant includes the 893,508 solar panels installed featuring bifacial monocrystalline photovoltaic technology that allows for capturing solar radiation more efficiently, which helps to generate more than 14% more electricity than traditional solar panels.

At the time of the construction of Guanchoi’s new plant, more than 1,200 people were employed, most of them from the Atacama region.

The development of this plant involves the application of innovative systems and modern technologies for such projects, such as the inclusion of wireless trackers to facilitate operational maintenance.

The company used a string inverter, which provides greater efficiency in converting direct current to alternating current, resulting in reduced maintenance costs for the unit.

Enel Chile has many renewable projects in the country, involving comprises wind (715 MW), solar (2,043 MW), hydroelectric (92 MW), and geothermal (83 MW), totaling a net installed capacity of 2,933 MW as of March 2023.

Enel Green Power’s new solar plant will reduce carbon emissions and Chile’s dependency on coal or other fossil-fueled energy sources.