Total and SunPower complete work on $200m solar plant in Chile

Oil company Total and solar energy corporation SunPower have finished work on a 70MW solar plant in El Salvador, Chile, worth an estimated $200m.  

The plant is expected to produce about 200GWh of electricity a year, enough to supply about 70,000 households. 

The facility was been designed and built by SunPower, which will also handle operations and maintenance. 

The 138ha site contains more than 160,000 high-efficiency solar panels. It will initially operate on a "merchant" basis whereby the electricity it produces is sold on the spot market and delivered to the Chilean grid. 

SunPower’s robotic cleaning technology may help increase annual power production by as much as 15% while using up to 75% less water than conventional methods. 

Jorg Heinemann, SunPower’s executive vice president, said the project would "deliver maximised, cost-competitive solar power over the next 25 years or more".  

SunPower is 66% owned by Total. 

Photograph: A SunPower solar plant (SunPower)

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