The La Silla photovoltaic plant is built on the slopes of La Silla Hill, 2,400 meters above sea level, co-habiting with the La Silla Astronomical Observatory, part of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) that has been operating since 1976, and which boasts some of the largest telescopes in the world.
The novelty of the La Silla solar park is represented by the latest generation of panels, which include double-sided (bifacial) and intelligent modules with integrated technology. The former capture solar energy from both sides of the panel, while the latter contain a microchip that makes each module independent. Unlike conventional systems, where a panel failure can affect the production of others, smart modules provide power to the grid, regardless of any individual panel failure.
La Silla is the world's first industrial-sized photovoltaic park that combines the use of smart, double-sided modules with conventional ones to test the performance of innovative technologies and compare them with traditional panels on the same site. The use of innovative panels can increase generation capacity by 5% to 10% as compared to same-sized traditional photovoltaic plants. The plant can generate some 4.75 GWh per year, equivalent to the energy requirements of approximately 2,000 families and more than 50% of the observatory's annual consumption.
It is also a training area for the use of drones to monitor and control operations.
These characteristics, especially the presence of the observatory, present an opportunity to develop a series of initiatives focused on research, experimentation and the creation of new capacities from the knowledge cluster in this area, alternatives that are currently being explored by the Company.