China backs South America’s biggest solar plant in Argentina
Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri has given his backing to a 200MW expansion of the 300MW Cauchari PV project in the Andean province of Jujuy, creating South America’s largest solar array with Chinese help.
“We’ll go for an additional 200MW with the same scheme and consortium,” Macri said during a press conference.
The Cauchari project is sited at 4,000-metres altitude on indigenous land and was contracted in the first renewable energy tender held by the government in 2016 at $60/MW.
Jujuy province claims 300MW clean sweep in Argentine tender
The project is being built by Jujuy’s provincial power firm and mining company Jemse, in partnership with China’s Shanghai Electric and Power China. Jujuy raised funds for part of the project through a green bond issue, while the Chinese Exim bank financed the rest.
The first 150MW stage will be completed in May this year and the full 300MW capacity will be reached in August, said Jujuy governor Geraldo Morales. By the end of 2020, the plant should reach 500MW, he said.
Morales said there is also a plan to expand the project by another 96MW to supply power to provincial distribution company Ejesa by the end of 2020, which would bring Cauchari close to 600MW – easily the biggest in South America.
The expansion of Cauchari has been under discussion since the end of last year when Jujuy provincial government started talking with the Chinese companies about expansion of the original project.
Argentina has so far contracted 1.7GW of solar power in two renewable energy tenders.