• First Solar modules equipped 141 MW AC solar power plant in Chile has secured grid service license from the country’s ISO
  • Awarded after an extensive audit, the license will allow the project to deliver a range of grid services that hitherto was a distinction given to only thermoelectric or hydroelectric power plants
  • It means the solar power project can respond to changes in load by balancing generation including automatic generation control

Coordinador Electrico Nacional, the independent system operator (ISO) in Chile, has accorded license to 141 MW AC Luz del Norte Photovoltaic Power Plant to deliver ancillary grid services commercially, making it the world’s ‘first known’ utility scale solar facility to earn the distinction, claims US module supplier First Solar, Inc. that provided its thin film module technology for the project commissioned in 2016.

First Solar explains why this is important is because till now grid operators had to rely exclusively on thermoelectric or hydroelectric power plants to respond to changes in load by balancing generation. This then makes the 141 MW project the first solar power plant to be officially given such a license preceded by an extensive audit conducted by the ISO, First Solar and Engie backed renewable energy research and consultancy service provider Laborelec Latam.

Coordinador Electrico Nacional recently added the project to its portfolio of large-scale power generators that are approved to deliver a range of grid services including automatic generation control (AGC), First Solar stated.

With this license, the Copiapo located facility is used by the ISO to manage the frequency of the country’s electricity system with an aim to ensure the reliability and stability of the grid.

“We are very pleased with this achievement as this increases the spectrum of technologies capable of providing the services needed to maintain a safe and reliable operation of the electrical system,” said Carlos Barria, Head of Forecast and Regulatory Analysis, and Environment and Climate Change at Chile’s Ministry of Energy. “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.”