The tower of Chile's concentrated solar power plant is completed and in testing phase

María Elena, Antofagasta, Chile
February 20, 2021
© Cerro Dominador

© Cerro Dominador

One of the great milestones of 2020 is the completion of the 250-meter-high tower of the solar thermal plant of the Cerro Dominador complex.

This great project, started in 2014, has been co-financed by the European Union, through LAIF, and KfW, as part of the Chilean Solar Energy Program, which seeks to support the Government of Chile in its goal of achieving that, by 2025, 20% of the electricity produced comes from clean energy sources.

The halo of light that is seen around the tower today is generated by the reflection of the 10,600 ‘mirrors’ or heliostats installed around it, in an area of ​​about 700 hectares in the Acatama desert. The heliostats capture and transmit solar radiation to a receptor located in the tower, 220 meters high. The tower has an energy absorption and storage system made up of hot salt tanks, which allows it to be uncoupled from the solar resource and to generate electricity through a water vapor turbine.

The solar thermal tower technology has a storage capacity of 17.5 hours and produces 110 MW. With this technology, it will be possible to supply electricity 24 hours a day to 382,000 homes and avoid the emission of 643 thousand tons of CO2 per year.

The Cerro Dominador complex efficiently combines photovoltaic with solar thermal energy, a model that solves the problem of the intermittency of other non-conventional renewable energies, allowing greater autonomy in production and better management of the energy produced.