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16 MAGGIO 2019

19:15 - Argentina

ARGENTINA: MEGA PROJECT TO BUILD THE LARGEST SOLAR PLANT IN SOUTH AMERICA

(ICE) - ROMA, 16 MAG -

The project is the Cauchari photovoltaic plant, 4.000 meters high in the Puna jujeña, which will become the largest in South America. It will generate 300 megawatts of electricity to supply about 120.000 homes. These solar fields, each composed of 512 chains of 18 photovoltaic modules, will also prevent 330.000 tons of CO2 per year from being released into the atmosphere. An expansion is currently underway to bring production to 500 MW, capable of satisfying the demand of 250.000 homes.

But, both before and now, it will depend on China's approval. It was the Eximbank, one of the windows through which the Asian giant motorized its external policies, which contributed vital us$ 330 million to finance the project, which the province must return with 3% annual interest to 15 years. And it is the same bank that plans to disburse another us$ 200 million for the second phase.

The road to Cauchari is long and demanding, and requires a calculated ascent through the arid landscape of the Puna. At 4.000 meters high, the sun's rays fall with such fury that photovoltaic panels need 20% more special protection against ultraviolet radiation than anywhere else. At night everything changes: the cold freezes the cables and temperatures reach 25 ° below zero. But the rigor of the climate does not matter when there are 2 decisive elements: 600 hectares of flat land and the proximity of a medium voltage line that will inject the energy into the National Interconnected System.

The solar giant forced to open 57 kilometers of a new parallel route and almost the same extension of internal roads to distribute materials, to adapt the channels of the rivers to withstand the summer rains. Inside, in the camp, some 600 local workers move in the mountainous landscape in the midst of strict security measures. The integration of the neighbors was one of the demands of the community leaders. During the last phase of the project, the workers will be about 1.200, but once the parks begin to operate they can be maintained with less than a hundred. The long-term plan is to maintain the local occupation with cooperatives that offer Cauchari basic services such as food, transportation and security. In addition to the jackpot: 2% of the final profits granted by the sale of energy.

The stage of the civil work to condition the land and place the bases of the solar structures is almost finished, but it remains to locate a good part of the mounting of supports and 50% of the laying of cables. At the same time, the transmission booths must be completed. The final step will be to assemble 90% of the panels that still wait in the boxes, since the engineers preferred to preserve them from a premature degradation. Then yes, the final phase and the start-up will begin, which is expected for the temporary window that goes from August to December.

The official estimates confirm that the contract signed with CAMMESA, whereby the Electricity Wholesale Market Administrator Company is committed to purchasing the energy generated during the next 2 decades, leaves direct benefits to the province for $ARS 1.000 million annually.

But looking beyond, the current moment in which China analyzes different projects to expand its presence in Argentina, a successful management, they estimate, will finish opening the investor appetite of President Xi Jinping, who aspires to turn his country into one of the players most powerful in the world of renewable energy.


(ICE BUENOS AIRES)