CEME1, the largest solar project in Chile by capacity, starts commercial operation

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The 480MW CEME1 PV Solar Power Plant in Chile began commercial operation in May 2024. This is approximately 2 years since its construction began back on Oct 5, 2021. On March 8, 2024, the back-feeding of electricity of the 220kV booster station was completed while the project’s mechanical completion was achieved on April 17 2024.

CEME1 is reportedly the largest solar project in Chile by capacity representing around one-tenth of the country’s total installed renewable energy capacity. The facility is poised to generate approximately 2,863 megawatt-hours of electricity per day, providing clean energy to around 400,000 households.

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Additionally, spanning 400 hectares of land (the equivalent of 370 football fields or its thereabouts), the CEME1 PV Solar Power Plant is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 280,000 tons each year. The project will thus significantly contribute to local environmental improvement and advancing Chile’s energy transition.

CEME1 PV Solar Power Plant project team

Located in the Atacama Desert, the driest nonpolar desert in the world, the CEME1 PV Solar Power Plant is developed by Generadora Metropolitana, a company of the AME and Electricité de France (EDF) Groups.

AME is a Chile-based Independent Power Producer (IPP) with assets in development and operation across Chile and Peru. EDF on the other hand, is a world leader in low-carbon energy generation, with a mix mainly composed of nuclear and renewable energy.

PowerChina Huadong Engineering Corporation Limited, an international engineering company involved in Hydropower & Renewable Energy, was the project’s contractor. The latter utilized high-performance modules from JA Solar Holdings, a solar development company that designs, develops, manufactures and sells solar cell and solar module products.

At the outset of the project, JA Solar collaborated with builders from PowerChina HECL to conduct a detailed analysis and assessment of local geological conditions as well as multiple challenges such as high temperatures, intense ultraviolet radiation, and strong winds and sandstorms. These analyses and assessments laid a solid foundation for the smooth execution of the CEME1 PV Solar Power Plant project.

In addition to the installation of the JA Solar solar modules, PowerChina also built a 33/220-kilovolt booster station and a 9.2-kilometre single-circuit transmission line. Noteworthy, the CEME1 PV Solar Power Plant is the largest new energy project built by POWERCHINA in the Americas. It is the first grid-connected solar power project independently built by POWRCHINA in Chile.

Remarks on the CEME1 PV Solar Power Plant project

Speaking on the CEME1 PV Solar Power Plant project, Aiqing Yang, the Executive President of JA Solar said that the project marks a significant milestone in the company’s commitment to renewable energy innovation and sustainability.

“This project not only highlights the exceptional synergy between PowerChina and JA Solar but also sets a new benchmark for large-scale solar initiatives in the South American country. We are honoured to contribute to the local energy transition, providing clean energy to hundreds of thousands of households and significantly reducing carbon emissions.

We look forward to continuing our support for local sustainable development, addressing environmental challenges, and fostering a greener and more resilient future for communities in Chile and beyond,” concluded the Executive President of JA Solar.

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