Chile Generates So Much Solar Power It’s Giving It Away For Free

By: | June 21st, 2016

Image courtesy Wikimedia

Chile is seeing an incredible solar boom. Investment in its renewable industry is showing exceptional results now with the country generating so much solar energy that it’s giving it away for free.

Solar power fed to Chile’s central grid has increased its capacity fourfold since 2013. At present, the grid is fed by 29 solar farms and 15 more solar power projects are under development.

Although it’s great to see so much expansion in the country’s renewable energy output, this huge supply is actually causing problems for investors and owners of solar power plants because the spot prices for electricity dropped to zero for 113 days this year and many more days of free solar power may come.

Why Chile is facing this problem:

Chile is facing this problem because of a lack of an effective way of storing or transmitting the surplus electricity that is generated.

Chile doesn’t have a unified power grid. Instead, Chile has two power networks: the central grid and a northern grid. In the northern grid, surplus power generation has driven the price to zero, whereas areas under-served by the central grid are not seeing the same benefits.

To alleviate this problem, Chile is constructing a 3,000 kilometer (1,865 mile) transmission line to unify the two power grids by 2017.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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