It should actually be called a renewable subway system after all SunPower’s panels will provide about 42 percent of the power needed to run the subway system in Santiago, Chile. Another 18 percent will come from Vestas wind turbines. It’s the first time solar power will supply such a significant amount of power for a subway system and given that it’s the second largest subway system in Latin America with 100 stops, it’s no small feat.
The Chilean President Michelle Bachelet delivered the news at an event at Santiago’s National Stadium Station, which is under construction. Both SunPower and Latin America Power, which will provide the wind power, agreed to 15-year power-purchase agreements and will start providing electricity to the subway system in 2018. It’s just one of the latest examples of how developing nations are adopting renewable energy.
“Today metro is entering the future of environmental awareness and the future of transport in a way that does not pollute,” Bachelet said via Google Translate. She added that "more than 2 and a half million passengers use the metro daily, and about 3.7 million will use the National Stadium Station. They will not only travel faster and safer. They will also be able to travel in a conveyance that cares for the planet, reduces our carbon footprint and makes possible a sustainable future for all."
"This contract is expressing Chile's commitment for a sustainable world. We are proud to partner with metro in developing a new way of powering public transportation systems through competitive, reliable and clean energy. This project supports our ambition to become the responsible energy major," says Bernard Clément, senior vice president of Business & Operations, of the New Energies division of Total. Total has a majority stake in SunPower.
Under the agreement with Metro of Santiago the subway system will get 300 gigawatt hours of electricity annually from the 100 megawatt SunPower and Total El Pelícano Solar Project. SunPower will start building the plan this year and is expected to begin providing power by the end of 2017.
"SunPower is proud to serve Metro of Santiago's growing energy demand with cost-competitive, renewable solar power," said Eduardo Medina, executive vice president, global power plants, SunPower. "Solar is an ideal energy source for Chile because of the country's high solar resource and transparent energy policies. In partnership with Total, SunPower is committed to the continued growth of our business in Chile.”
The power plant will use consist of SunPower’s modular Oasis system, which is pre-engineered for rapid deployment. It also will include a robotic solar panel cleaning capability that uses less water than other cleaning options.Tweet