Altiplano solar photovoltaic power plant
A most impressive facility, situated at an altitude of 4,000 m, on an Andean plateau with exceptional sun exposure
CONTEXT & ISSUES
Neoen is France’s leading independent producer of exclusively renewable energies. Since its creation in 2008, the company has developed many solar and wind power projects around the world. The company now has 7 GW of capacity in production and under construction in 17 countries. Artelia has been working with the company for several years on the construction of photovoltaic power plants in France, Africa and South America. After completing an Owner’s Engineer assignment for the Providencia Solar (100 MWp) and Capella Solar (140 MWp) projects in El Salvador, our teams carried out a similar assignment for the Altiplano Solar project in Argentina. This project was selected as part of Argentina’s RenovAr programme of calls for tenders, designed to develop electricity generation based on renewable energies.
Working with Argentinian experts, Artelia was involved in the initial studies, carried out before the call for tenders, to optimise the design of the power plant and its integration into unusual site conditions. This work enabled the project to win the RenovAr tender. This 208 MWp capacity power plant, built on trackers, represented a major challenge because of the difficulties associated with the altitude and the particular weather conditions of this Andean site, located at an altitude of 4,000 m: exceptional sun exposure (GHI > 2,600 kWh/m²/year), very low temperatures (down to -20°C) and strong winds (mini tornadoes).
The construction of the power station and associated substation (33/345 kV), carried out by the Gensun-TSK consortium, began in March 2019. Its implementation represented a huge logistical challenge, given the site’s remoteness from the country’s main infrastructure (Salta, a major city, is around 4 hours away by road). A base able to house almost 400 people had to be built on the project site.
The Altiplano solar power plant was commissioned in October 2021. It is connected to a 345 kV transmission line linking Argentina and Chile across the Andes. Artelia and its local partner Énergie were responsible for validating all the design studies carried out by the builder Gensun – TSK, supervising the entire construction process and providing assistance with commissioning and acceptance of the project. Many of the Artelia Group’s skills were deployed on this large-scale project, including photovoltaic production, LV/HV electrical connections, structural steel engineering and geotechnical engineering.