Atlantic Wind & Solar (AWSL), with affiliate and co-developer Atlantic Energy Ecuador, won a receipt of notice from the National Electricity Council of Ecuador (CONELEC), confirming two initial photovoltaic (PV) projects in the Province of Esmeraldas are to proceed under Ecuador's feed-in tariff program.
The $150 million plants, representing two phases, will be built in the province of Esmeraldas and will be larger than any currently operational PV plant in South America.
The projects combined represent 58.43 MW of DC solar PV generation. Each site represents 25 MW AC of nominal generation and will be located in the towns of Lagarto and Tonchigue respectively.
The plants will generate in excess of 86,000 MWh per year of clean electricity, enough energy to power 85,000 households, while offsetting annual carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 50,000 metric tons — the equivalent of taking 10,000 cars off the road each year.
This advancement follows the successful completion of technical studies including, grid impact assessments, risk and environmental analysis and economic feasibility studies, each approved by CONELEC.
Approval came in conjunction with Atlantic providing about $2,000,000 in warranties required to secure the power purchase agreements (PPA).
The construction phase of the project will employ an estimated 500 workers. Under a corporate social responsibility plan Atlantic will improve the area's utility infrastructure, contributing 50 percent of associated costs in partnership with the local distribution company, plus build two playgrounds for the local children.
The electricity authority of Ecuador announced on May 14, 2011 the adoption of a Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program for solar photovoltaic, wind, hydro and biomass energy generation. Under the terms of the FIT, the electrical authority will purchase the power produced by solar PV at a rate of .4003 per KWh.