27 June 2014—Photovoltaic (PV) solar system provider First Solar (Tempe, Ariz., U.S.A.) announced yesterday that it has received financing approval to construct a 141 MW solar plant in Chile, which will be the largest such plant in Latin America to date. The Luz del Norte solar power plant will be located in the Atacama Desert near the city of Copiapo, a location that has one of the highest irradiance values from direct sunlight on Earth.  

The financing is a joint effort between the Overseas Private Investment Company (OPIC), a self-sustaining agency of the U.S. government that promotes development finance, and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. The OPIC board is providing a loan of up to $230 million while the IFC board has approved a loan for $60 million. The loans are expected to close this summer and will enable First Solar to proceed with construction planning.

The Luz del Norte project will provide energy to the Chilean Central Interconnected System, and is expected to contribute significantly toward the Chilean government’s goal of increasing the country’s renewable energy capacity to 20 percent of its total power by 2025.