The Atacama Desert possesses abundant natural resources. Its soils hold the world’s largest copper and non-metallic minerals reserves, sustaining an active mining industry that has been the country’s main productive and economic sector for over a century. Another abundant natural resource in this vast territory comes from its skies, as it has the highest levels of solar irradiance in the world.
The desert also presents challenges. The lack of water and the high cost of reliable and sustainable energy supply are a real threat to the mining sector’s competitiveness.
Chile understands that this context represents an opportunity for development. The mining industry’s urgent need can be a powerful ally to search innovative energy solutions. The development of a solar power industry is on the way. This process develops applications specific to the desert’s unique environmental conditions through R&D&I to take advantage of the full potential of photovoltaic and thermal solar power.
Characteristics of the Atacama Desert
Average annual hours of sunlight
Average annual rainfall
in some desert areas
Average temperatura in summer
Above European average
Chilean Minning Industry
annual copper production, the world’s largest producer of this mineral
projected annual electricity consumption by the Chilean copper mining industry by 2025.
OF THE NATIONAL POPULATION
could benefit from the electricity generated by the Atacama Desert sun after the SIC and SING are interconnected in 2018.
of installed photovoltaic generation capacity could supply 30% of South America’s electricity consumption using just 6,000 km2 of the Atacama Desert.
the estimated population that could be supplied with power generated in the desert regions around the world.