solar power in chileChile, among the most stable countries in South America, has completely turned its energy crisis around. In recent years, solar power in Chile has become a model for green energy infrastructure around the world.

Five Facts About Solar Power in Chile

  1. In 2014 Chile was on the brink of an energy crisis. At that time, a drought waged war against 33% of Chile’s energy that relied on hydroelectric power. Copper mining in Chile had also started to draw more energy and has continued to rapidly increase its energy consumption. Consequently, the cost of energy for Chile’s 17.9 million people had increased by 20% since 2010, and prices were expected only to continue to rise.

  2. Solar power in Chile saved the day. In response to this imminent national disaster, Chile invested its efforts into solar panels. The nation soon became the first in Latin America to produce more than one gigawatt of solar energy. The industry continued to grow, and Chile now relies on renewable energy for 22.8% of its power as of December 2019; 47% of this energy is solar energy. In March 2020, Chile produced 1,300 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy.

  3. Chile’s economy has since boomed. In 2000, the percentage of people in Chile living in poverty sat at 30%, but by 2013 that number had fallen to 14.4%. The approach of an energy crisis in 2014 appeared to threaten this upswing. Yet, with the help of solar power, Chile avoided this tragedy. In 2017 the rate of Chileans living below the poverty line dropped even further, to only 8.6%.

  1. Energy prices now reflect Chile’s economic success. Since the adoption of solar power in Chile, the cost of energy to its citizens has dropped considerably. The cost of copper dropped soon after Chile embraced solar energy as its savior. This caused the northern half of the country to come into an excess of energy, resulting in 192 days of free energy for people living there in 2015. This marked an enormous improvement from the expensive energy prices of 2014.

  2. Chile has immense solar power potential. Because of its flat ground and abundant solar radiation, the Atacama Desert possesses some of the largest solar power potential on Earth. The 123-megawatt Granja solar plant exemplifies Chile’s ability to harvest that potential. Completed by Solarpack in March 2020, Granja represents Chile’s dedication to ecological progress and green energy. Plus, at $21.10 per megawatt-hour, in 2016, the Granja project was regarded as having the most competitive energy price.

Chile’s explosive solar energy sector has impressed the world and improved the lives of its people. Such ecological and economic harmony presents a model for other countries that wish to follow in Chile’s footsteps.

Will Sikich
Photo: Flickr