A 600 MW solar project that will incorporate hydropower for 24 hours energy delivery has begun in Northern Atacama Desert in Chile by Valhalla Energia. The total cost of the project is put at $1.3 billion of which the company hopes to raise as much as 40 percent of this cost from investors and supporters and get the remaining 60 percent through bank loans.
This project, known as the ‘Cielos de Tarapaca’ solar project, seeks to use an integrated solar and hydro system to produce 24 hours electricity. The hydro system will pump sea water into a reservoir during the day which is thereafter allowed to flow through turbines at night.
The plant will be about 100 kilometres (an equivalent of about 60 miles) south-east of the city of Iquique and should be functional as from 2020. The project is said to be an indispensable opportunity for Chile towards 24 hours power supply which cannot be attained by solar power at the moment.
Due environmental approvals have been received and the project is slated to begin in the second half of this year 2016.