Metro de Santiago Boasts World’s First Solar-Powered Public Transit System

In an agreement announced this week by Total and SunPower, Chile’s Metro de Santiago is ready to feature the world’s first metro to run on solar electricity.

The clean energy public transit system became official when SunPower signed a power purchase agreement for the supply of 300 gigawatt hours of solar electricity annually to Metro de Santiago. Metro de Santiago currently serves 2.2 million passengers per day.

Chile Metro Santiago
Chile President Michelle Bachelet at yesterday’s announcement by Total and SunPower to provide solar power for Metro de Santiago, the world’s first metro to run on solar.

The solar power will be distributed from the El Pelícano Solar Project, a 100-megawatt project near the municipalities of La Higuera and Vallenar. Construction of the solar power plant is slated to begin this year, with expected operation by the end of 2017.

“This contract is expressing Chile’s commitment for a sustainable world. We are proud to partner with Metro in developing a new way of powering public transportation systems through competitive, reliable and clean energy. This project supports our ambition to become the responsible energy major,” said Bernard Clément, senior vice president, New Energies division of Total.

Chile President Michelle Bachelet was among dignitaries attending the announcement.

SunPower, a leading global solar technology company and an affiliate of Total, will design and build the project and provide operations and maintenance once it is operational.

Eduardo Medina, SunPower executive vice president, global power plants said, “Solar is an ideal energy source for Chile because of the country’s high solar resource and transparent energy policies. In partnership with Total, SunPower is committed to the continued growth of our business in Chile.”

The company announced it will construct a SunPower Oasis power plant system at the site. The Oasis system is an integrated, modular solar power block which is engineered for rapid deployment of utility-scale solar projects while optimizing land use. The technology includes robotic solar panel cleaning capability that uses 75% less water than traditional cleaning methods and can help improve system performance by up to 15%.

Total is an international oil and gas company, and the world’s second-ranked solar energy operator with SunPower.

I look forward to reporting on the development of similar clean energy transit systems worldwide.

Image via PR Newswire

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