loader image
Skip to content
Blogs - Innovation Projects

Solar PV Project Development in Chile

2 min read

Location: Chile
Duration: 2012 – present
Partner: First Solar
Carbon Standard: United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) (PoA 9251)

Project Partner: First Solar Energía Ltda.

First Solar, Inc. is the leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar power systems. First Solar Energia Limitada implemented the Luz del Norte project with financing provided to First Solar, Inc. by OPIC and IFC.



In 2004, Argentina began to steadily cut natural gas exports to its neighbor Chile, triggering a major energy crisis. Ten years later, a regasification plant (converting liquefied natural gas back to natural gas) located 1,400 km north of Santiago, was not enough to solve the energy problems in the north of the country, where water is scarce and where the mining industry is concentrated. In 2014 the country was facing a serious long-term energy shortage, largely caused by the expected growth in the country’s energy-intensive copper mining industry and the effect of a drought on hydroelectric production. Electricity prices had risen 20% compared with 2010 and the government was predicting a further 34% rise over the coming 10 years.


As a result, solar projects became a priority. In January 2016, Chile became the first Latin American country to reach 1GW of production.

Project Overview

  • The Luz del Norte project is the largest photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant in Latin America occupying 478 hectares of land located 58 km northeast of Copiapó, Chile.
  • The 141 megawatt (MW) alternating current (AC) project is powered by more than 1.7 million First Solar advanced thin film PV modules, producing enough solar energy to power 174,000 homes and displace the equivalent of more than 185,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.

Project Benefits

  • Establishes Chile as a leader in solar development
  • Diversifies Chile’s energy mix in support of the country’s renewable energy policies
  • Created up to 370 construction jobs and 10 ongoing operations and maintenance positions
  • Provided business opportunities in the Copiapó region including construction, environmental, transportation, food and hospitality services
  • Local vendors were trained and certified to match international standards and locally-produced construction materials were used
  • In addition, First Solar established a training program in partnership with Solar Energy International at Liceo Politécnico José Antonio Carvajal to prepare students to join the growing solar industry as skilled installers of PV technology
  • Uses no water to clean PV panels, protecting natural resources
Latest Stories

Stories of Impact: Behind Tsotso Stove, there’s a story to tell

Local Poet Sylvia Muzarrabani composed a poem titled "Behind Tsotso Stove, there's a story to tell". The poem encapsulates her feelings of how CQC's TLC Rocket Stove has transformed the lives of the people in her village.

Read more

Stories of Impact: CQC Mbaula Trophy Championship

Thousands of people, many travelling hundreds of kilometres and many hours away have made the trek to witness the finals of the CQC Mbaula Trophy Championship, C-Quest Capital’s inaugural soccer and netball tournament held in Lilongwe, Malawi.

Read more

LED’s Lighting a New Path for Future Sustainability: Part Three

In this final part of our blog series, we will hear from three regions, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, and Bihar

Read more

LED’s Lighting a New Path for Future Sustainability: Part Two

Part two explores C-Quest Capital’s (CQC) efficient lighting program where over 14.5 million LED blubs have already been supplied to over 3 million households. By the end of the program, it will be estimated that up to 50 million LEDs will eventually be installed to many of India’s most rural and disadvantaged  communities.

Read more

C-Quest Capital Awarded with Best Project Developer: Energy Efficiency

C-Quest Capital has won the ‘Best Project Developer: Energy Efficiency’ and runner-up for ‘Best Project Developer: Public health’ in Environmental Finance’s Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) Rankings 2022.

Read more

LED’s Lighting a New Path for Future Sustainability: Part One

With lighting accounting for 15% of global energy usage and nearly 5% of global CO2 emissions, efficient lighting technologies such as Light Emitting Diode (LED globes) have now been moved into the limelight as an essential technology to move the world closer to net-zero – one globe at a time.

Read more