Racing with the solar car

Published on Friday, 22 April 2016

“For the last ten years, close to Maranello and Ferrari's headquarters, solar car prototypes are being created, combining handicraft industriousness and the development of new technologies.”

Emilia 3, the car that is racing in the Carrera Solar, is the latest of many vehicles made with the collaboration of several partners: from the Maranello School to a long list of locally based small and large businesses that have offered materials and technological components.

Racing on Mars

No place in the world is best suited to host a race like the Carrera solar. The Atacama desert is the Earth's region with the highest level of solar radiation, an exposure of up to 2,380 hours a year and a radiation percentage that exceeds that of the Sahara.

Totally dry, with humidity percentages closet o zero and large areas lacking any form of life, the Atacama desert is one of the favourite destinations of the space agencies that plan journeys to Mars aimed at testing rovers that will be sent to the Red Planet.

The sun "mine"

The sun that starting from 2011 attracts to Atacama and Antofagasta the cars taking part in the Carrera has also brought renewables to this corner of Chile: the plants that are being built since 2013 radically change the desert and the life of the local people.

“Up to a few years ago in this area, high up between the mountainous chain of the Andes and the cordillera of the Coast, there were only mines created to extract the rich underground resources.”

For local communities, the intensive exploitation of copper and nitrate fields has represented economic income, but also an invasion of their land. Building renewable plants today means also taking into account painful experiences and opening up a new chapter.

We have started building the Diego de Almagro solar PV field, our first solar plant in Chile, on 25 November 2013. Today in the region we have a 253 MW solar power installed capacity and six plants: the latest one that was put into service was Pampa Norte, grid-connected on 6 April 2016.

A new chapter, together

“Building renewable plants in the region of Antofagasta means using the best technologies, which are resilient to the extreme conditions of this region. And, most of all, working with the local communities.”

Alongside the solar fields we are setting up several initiatives with the region's communities: micro-businesses providing services to the plants that have been established and have grown, environmental protection projects, activities supporting education.

We design each plant while exchanging views with the village inhabitants in order to identify together the best path to follow. With men and women in Atacama and Antofagasta we are building a sustainable development model that respects the areas's history and is capable of creating shared value.