Solar power plant inaugurated today will provide power for approximately 380,000 households
The first solar thermal power plant in Latin America is being inaugurated today. The innovative power plant generates green electricity 24 hours a day and provides power for approximately 380,000 households. It also saves around 870,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, thus contributing substantially to global climate action and achieving Chile’s climate targets. The German Environment Ministry has provided significant support for the Cerro Dominador CSP project through the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the KfW Group as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI).
Federal Environment Minister Schulze remarked: "As the first solar thermal power plant in South America, Cerro Dominador is a beacon for the entire region. I hope that more of these power plants will be constructed to tap the enormous potential of solar energy. Today Chile is taking another big step towards a climate-neutral future."
The Cerro Dominador project is located in Chile’s Atacama Desert, which offers excellent conditions for concentrated solar power plants (CSP) thanks in part to the intensity of the sun’s rays. Sunlight, concentrated by mirrors, is reflected to a receiver at the top of a high tower where it heats molten salts. The heat absorbed by the salts is stored and used for power generation via a steam turbine. The innovative storage of the hot molten salts in a tank system makes it possible to operate the plant even without direct sunlight. This means that the CSP power plant can generate power around the clock (around 110 megawatts), even at night and during the few cloudy days in the Atacama Desert. Thanks to the excellent solar radiation conditions in northern Chile, the solar power plant was able to prevail in commercial terms over coal and gas to win a tender for long-term electricity supply contracts not limited to a specific technology.
The German Environment Ministry has supported the development of the plant as part of its International Climate Initiative (IKI). The support provided through GIZ and KfW included an interest subsidy and consultancy to develop and carry out the Cerro Dominador project. KfW contributed a loan of 65 million US dollars and project financing amounting to 55 million US dollars. The project was also supported by the European Union (15 million euros from the Latin American Investment Facility) and international financial institutions.
The Cerro Dominador project also comprises a 100 megawatts photovoltaic power plant, which started operation already in 2018.