43 Campos del Sol
For helping Chile turn away from fossil fuels and toward carbon neutrality
Chile’s unofficial role as Latin America’s clean energy leader got a big boost last year when Enel Green Power launched a US$320 million project to build a massive solar photovoltaic plant in the northern Atacama Region. At full capacity, the 382-megawatt Campos del Sol will generate enough energy per year to help slash annual carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 900,000 metric tons. That’s the same as taking nearly 200,000 cars off the road for a year.
The largest project of its kind in Chile also marks a major step in the country meeting its aggressive climate agenda. Last year, government leaders set a goal to completely phase out coal by 2040 and be carbon neutral by 2050.
The plant isn’t scheduled to begin operations until the end of this year, but the team is already making the most of emerging tech bubbling up in the sector. Campos del Sol will rely on 1 million bifacial photovoltaic panels, a technology that generates, on average, 12 percent more electricity than conventional panels by capturing solar radiation from both sides.
That focus on innovation applies to the project site, too. Team members use state-of-the-art, GPS-guided machinery, an autonomous drone that can remotely monitor work and digital tablets that allow them to integrate data in real time, boosting productivity and efficiency.
It’s not all about technology, though. Enel’s project leaders know they need support from local stakeholders. By meeting with five Indigenous communities, the team was better equipped to identify and mitigate concerns. Their feedback resulted in a plan that aligns with the communities’ priorities as well as Enel’s sustainability targets. One of those goals—the development of sustainable tourism initiatives—is already in the works in partnership with Chilean nonprofit Fundación Rondó.