Commissioning of the Salvador PV Solar Power Plant in Chile

In some regions of the world, such as Chile, solar is becoming profitable without public subsidies.

One of the world’s biggest merchant solar power plants. In January 2015, we and our affiliate SunPower inaugurated the Salvador PV solar power plant in northern Chile. Generating 70 MW, it comprises 160,000 photovoltaic panels and produces enough power to serve about 70,000 homes. What sets Salvador PV apart is that it is one of the world's biggest merchant solar projects: the power produced will be sold directly and without subsidies in the spot market. In this Atacama Desert region, where prices for imported power are high and solar irradiation particularly intense, solar energy has advantages that enable it to compete with conventional sources right now.

A growth-focused strategy. In the last few years, SunPower and the solar industry as a whole have improved photovoltaic cell conversion efficiency and lowered manufacturing costs so much that 17 countries — like Chile — now enjoy favorable situations that make the solar alternative competitive without subsidies. This trend is expected to continue and to buoy the market’s growth outlook, which is around 12% a year over the next five years. To keep up with it, SunPower plans to triple its cell manufacturing capacity over the same period.

Pointers

  • Our affiliate SunPower is now the second-ranked solar company by revenue and the industry leader based on the efficiency of its technology.
  • We consider solar the most technologically and economically promising renewable energy to help create a more diversified, lower-carbon energy mix.

Smart Energy Home

In addition to building turnkey solar power plants, SunPower is also expanding in the rooftop solar segment, pursuing a “smart energy” strategy. To gradually put together an innovative line of solutions helping customers optimize their power use, SunPower invested in smart energy management and energy storage in 2014.