In the middle of the Atacama Desert, 10,600 mirrors face skyward. Each one measures 140 square meters and weighs about three tons. Their function is to follow the sun’s trajectory, reflecting and directing the radiation towards the receiver and converting it into energy. The Concentrated Solar Power plant occupies 1,000 hectares and is located in northern Chile’s Cerro Dominador. This area has the highest level of solar incidence in the world and is the site of Latin America’s first solar thermal plant. Most of the country’s clean energy is generated there and, because of the plant, Chile achieved one of its most ambitious environmental targets last year, four years ahead of schedule.
The country set itself the goal of producing 20% of its energy from non-conventional renewable energy (NCRE) by 2025. This year, the percentage has already reached 31.1%, according to the Chilean Association of Renewable Energies and Storage (Acera). This comes primarily from photovoltaic energy, which represents 15% of the country’s renewable energy. Cerro Dominador’s proximity to Chile’s large mining areas has also made it easier for that industry to incorporate more solar energy. In 2019, mining’s use of renewable energies did not exceed 3.6%, but it rose to 10.5% in 2020. In 2021, solar energy consumption in the mining sector reached the milestone of 36.2%. That rate is projected to climb to 50% by the end of this fiscal year.
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Source: El Pais
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