SANTIAGO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Chilean steel and iron ore producer CAP and SunEdison, a unit of U.S.-based MEMC Electronic Materials Inc, said on Thursday they have agreed to build a 100 megawatt solar power plant in the Andean nation’s Atacama desert.
The solar plant would be the largest of its kind in Latin America and would supply around 15 percent of CAP’s energy needs after its scheduled startup by the end of the year.
The companies did not provide an estimate of how much they plan to invest in the plant.
Northern Chile’s Atacama desert is host to the bulk of the nation’s massive copper mines and has some of the world’s highest levels of solar radiation.
CAP said last year it could invest at least $3.5 billion to $4 billion from 2015 to 2018 as it mulls plans to propel iron ore production to 30 million tonnes and diversify into energy generation.
Miners in Chile, the world’s leading copper producer, are struggling with steep power prices because of prolonged droughts which have hit hydropower output, delays in key energy projects and a shaky transmission system.