The President of Chile opened the 100 MW PV power farm in the Atacama Desert this week. I advised CAP SA of Santiago Chile in the planning of this project and visited the country twice during the planning stages of the project. I love Chile and they are smart to have adopted smart policies with regard to solar power in the Atacama region which is an area of the world that gets perhaps the highest solar incidence on land in the entire planet. 270 gigawatt hours of power from 100 megawatts of DC panels is a capacity factor of over 30.8%
Here is the link to press release on the CAP SA PV project.
For comparison the UK has finally woken up to the fact that placing solar cells in Suffolk where the sun hardly shines but is very productive agricultural land is a dumb idea for energy policy. The US still has politicians in Minnesota through Maine who believe the dreariest parts of our country are fit for solar farms. Hopefully these politicians will learn from their British counterparts that PV cells are best placed where there is a lot of sunlight. I kind of like the name of the British politician who is Mr. Eric Pickles.
My congressman Mr. Huffman who is in a bit of a pickle over AB 864 thinks solar farms are best placed on the industrial sites of CLECA (California Large Electricity Consumers Association) members. Mr. Huffman I think you should visit Chile and go see what one of your constituents actually did to help the generation of green power without massive government subsidy. Back in 2011 the CLECA members already enjoy reduced power costs relative to other ratepayers yet Mr. Huffman was going to help them with his failed AB 864 that got squashed like a scorpion by the CPUC. Note parts of the Atacama are so dry there are even no insects. Certainly no politicians like Mr. Huffman can thrive there as AT&T has limited service. Hold on AT&T does operate in Chile and Mr. Huffman may soon visit the offices of the Chilean Large Electricity Consumers Association to assist them with their power costs.