The capacity of the Chimbera solar power plant in San Juan, western Argentina is ramped up by a further 2 MW to 7 MW thanks to 8,400 REC Peak Energy Series solar panels, making the plant one of the largest in South America. The REC produces enough clean, green electricity to power approximately 1,300 Argentinean households and reduces the country's annual CO2 footprint by 2,000 tons.
The ground-mounted REC installation covers around three hectares of a total six hectare solar power plant, and is expected to deliver 3,900 MWh of electricity each year. The Chimbera plant is owned and operated by 360 Energy SA, an Argentinean venture formed to develop, build and operate solar projects initiated through the country's renewable energy generation program (GENREN). Plans are already in place to scale up the plant's power-generating capacity, as 360 Energy expects the facility to be generating 20 MW of solar electricity by 2014. The electricity is fed into the grid and sold to energy providers through a government-supported PPA.
REC's strong record for quality and high-performing installations around the world made the company a clear choice to supply the solar panels that would take this landmark project to the next level. "This is our first installation with REC solar panels. Given the planned size of the finished installation, this project is hugely important to the future of solar energy in Argentina. We were impressed by both the quality and price of REC solar panels and would choose REC again as the project moves to the next stage," says Santiago Lagos, CEO of 360 Energy.
The installation is also an important stepping stone for REC. "We are pleased to be on board this exciting project with 360 Energy in Argentina, and are looking forward to expanding our involvement as the country moves forward with its solar electricity initiatives," says Luc Graré, Senior Vice President Solar Sales and Marketing, REC.
Argentina certainly offers excellent growth opportunities for solar electricity. Its western region benefits from twice the solar radiation of Germany, making solar a viable source to meet more of the country's electricity needs. With incentive programs and generous feed-in tariffs now in place to jump-start its burgeoning solar industry, Argentina is in an ideal position to drive large-scale solar projects forward. REC, having gained its first foothold in this market with this 2 MW installation, demonstrates that it can take a major role in the expanding Argentinean and South American solar electricity industry.