Minera El Tesoro, part of the Antofagasta Minerals group is the first South American recipient of a solar thermal plant with Spain’s photovoltaic developer Abengoa designing and building a 20-megawatt capacity structure for the mining group.
Located in Antofagasta in Chile, the plant is covers 6 hectares and consists of more than 1,000 solar thermal collectors. By using thermal energy for storage, the plant aims to deliver heat each hour of each day.
Being located in the mining community is also beneficial as according to Abengoa, the plant is expected to make available sufficient energy equivalent to about 55% of diesel fuel used for mining in the region.
This bodes well for the solar future of Latin America as a recent report by NPD Solarbuzz commented that the region, together with the Caribbean will become hotbeds of demand for solar photovoltaic in the coming years.
This is good news, considering that there is a great need for developing nations to take up some of these renewable sources of energy which have apparently been let slide by first world countries.