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Chile is Generating so Much Solar Power That it’s Giving it Away For Free!

Chile, a world leader in solar energy has invested so much in their solar power industry that the country is now generating more electricity from the sun than it knows what to do with. 


In a new report, it has been revealed that spot prices on solar electricity dropped to zero for 113 days of the year through April, and many more days of free solar power are expected to come. 

Analysts are concerned about how this will impact the market, since investors and owners of solar power plants may lose money, the residents nonetheless, are taking full advantage of the free electricity.
The capacity of Chile’s central solar grid has quadrupled since 2013. The grid is now fed by 29 solar farms, and a further 15 are planned for construction in the future. But Chile has two power networks in play: a central grid and a northern grid, which are not connected. Infrastructure in some areas of each grid is poor meaning there are places where the grids simply cannot transmit a full load of electricity. 

Supply and demand has meant some areas have more electricity than they need, lowering prices, while other areas are under-served. In areas served by the northern part of the central grid, power surpluses have driven the price to zero, and this year’s figures are on target to meet or exceed last year’s number of free solar power days, which was 192. Simultaneously, areas under-served by the grid are experiencing higher than normal prices.

The long-term effects of the massive solar industry growth, without the necessary infrastructure updates to handle the increased capacity are currently unkown.

As Carlos Barria, former chief of the government’s renewable energy division and a professor at Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, in Santiago, told Bloomberg: 

“[President] Michelle Bachelet’s government has set the energy sector as a priority but planning has been focused in the short term when it is necessary to have long term plans to solve these type of issues.”

Chile is reacting. It is responding with full steam to the need for better energy infrastructure, Construction is underway on a 3,000 kilometer (1,865 mile) transmission line to link the two grids by 2017. A separate 753km (468 mile) line is also in development, designed to alleviate congestion in the northern parts of the central grid, where excess electricity is driving prices down to zero.

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Chile is Generating so Much Solar Power That it’s Giving it Away For Free! Reviewed by Admin on 18:40:00 Rating: 5