Close icon

My notifications

News See all the news
New energies 27/09/2020

Breakthrough Project Connects Solar To Chile’s Power Grid

A pioneering solar project in Chile is paving the way for governments to integrate more renewable energy into national power grids.  (Photo Credit : First Solar)

Commissioned in 2016, First Solar’s Luz del Norte is one of the largest photovoltaic plants in Chile and has just been granted government approval to supply auxiliary grid services on a commercial basis. The 141-megawatt project is the first of its kind, as grid operators around the world have typically relied on fossil-fired power plants and hydroelectric dams to respond to changes in load by balancing generation. Here are some key facts about the project :

  • The facility, located in the Atacama Desert close to Copiapó, is now used to manage the frequency of Chile’s electrical system. Over the past month, Coordinador Eléctrico Nacional has been sending the Luz del Norte plant second-by-second commands via its automated control system to ramp real power output up and down according to need.

  • Similar to rooftop solar panels, utility-scale PV inverters can inject or absorb reactive power to mitigate frequency and voltage disruptions, much like hydroelectric or natural-gas-fired turbines do today. But solar farms and batteries have a shorter reaction time than spinning generators —  an important aspect for grid operators facing increasingly complex and fast-changing grid conditions.

  •  Wind and solar farms are today being examined for their grid services potential in markets from California to the United Kingdom. While frequency regulation is only a small fraction of a transmission grid’s overall energy needs — since markets can be saturated quickly and are sensitive to changes in market rules — the soaring demand for decarbonized power might override these market conditions, and renewables might soon become a standard part of government portfolios of large-scale generators. 

Other news of the same theme

Sign up for the ENGIE Innovation Newsletter

Submit your innovative solutions

By continuing to browse, you accept that ENGIE uses cookies for the purpose of saving information about your browsing on the Site. Cookies help make your browsing experience easier and also make it possible to gather statistics about who visits the Site with the goal of improving its quality. For more information, click here.
Consult cookies policy

close icon