First Solar power plant to deliver grid services in Chile

First Solar - AP photo

First Solar announced that its 141 MW AC Luz del Norte photovoltaic (PV) power plant has received the license to deliver ancillary grid services.

Chile’s independent system operator (ISO), Coordinador Electrico Nacional, recently added Luz del Norte to its portfolio of power generators to deliver grid services, including automatic generation control (AGC).

The facility in Copiapo, Chile, is now being used by the ISO to manage the frequency of the country’s electricity system, helping ensure the grid’s reliability and stability, in addition to generating clean, renewable energy.

This follows an audit, jointly conducted by Coordinador Electrico Nacional, Laborelec Latam, and First Solar, to evaluate the plant’s capabilities. Until now, grid operators around the world had to rely on thermoelectric or hydroelectric power plants to respond to changes in load by balancing generation.

“These demonstrated capabilities are in line with our plans in integrating higher levels of renewable energy in our grid, which will enable us to achieve our goal to phase out coal-fired power plants by 2040 and to be carbon neutral by 2050,” Carlos Barria, head of the Forecast and Regulatory Analysis, and Environment and Climate Change at Chile’s Ministry of Energy, said.

Luz del Norte is one of the largest PV plants in Chile. Powered by First Solar’s thin film module technology, the facility generates enough electricity to power 50,000 average Chilean homes with the lowest carbon footprint and no water use.