The sun never sets at Enel

Published on Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The Paleisheuwel solar plant in the South African province of Western Cape ceases its daily activities at dusk. It is in that exact moment that the Carrera Pinto plant in Chile reaches its daily peak production. The two plants reach a state of operational synergy that can also be found in other parts of the world, with different time zones that allow the sun to shine for 24 hours a day on Enel solar parks – meeting the energy needs of hundreds of thousands of people.

As outlined in the 2015-2019 Strategic Plan, over 50% of our investments have gone to renewable energy and grids. Our company has decided to increasingly focus on the development of solar technology, with which it is currently present on four continents with a total installed capacity  of over 478 MW.

In South Africa, we have completed and connected both the Paleisheuwel and Tom Burke power plants to the grid. Paleisheuwel is the largest solar photovoltaic plant in the country, with an installed capacity of 82.5 MW, while the Tom Burke facility is able to generate up to 122 GWh of emission-free energy per year, with an installed capacity of 66 MW. In addition to these two plants, the company currently operates the 10 MW Upington plant in the Northern Cape Province, and is in the process of constructing two solar photovoltaic projects called Adams and Pulida, accounting for 82.5 MW each.

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, we have begun construction of the Aurora plant in Minnesota, our largest solar photovoltaic plant (150 MW) in the United States. Once the facility is operational, Aurora will produce more than 120 GWh per year. Combined with the existing Stillwater and Sheldon Springs plants, it will increase the company’s total US capacity to 180 MW of solar technology.

Further south, in Chile, Enel’s largest solar park in the world has begun production. Finis Terrae has an installed capacity of 160 MW and is able to generate more than 400 GWh per year. Not far from Finis Terrae, we have also built the Carrera Pinto solar photovoltaic plant (97 MW). Both facilities are located in the Atacama Desert, a favourite location among space agencies planning trips to Mars due to similar morphological conditions to those of the red planet. One of the driest places on Earth, with humidity levels approaching zero degrees Celsius and large areas lacking any form of life, it had not seen a drop of rain for 400 years until the rainfall of 1971. It therefore offers the ideal conditions for scientists to simulate other planets and for our company to produce solar energy, benefitting from more than 2,700 hours of exposure per year and a higher radiation intensity than the Sahara.