PV and costs, the (not so quick) uptake of photo voltaic in Argentina and Chile

PV and costs, the (not so quick) uptake of photo voltaic in Argentina and Chile

The Atacama Desert in Argentina and Chile is the sunniest area on earth. Regardless of the superb photo voltaic radiation useful resource availability and loads of room on rooftops and on the bottom, photo voltaic PV shouldn’t be as widespread in both nation as would have been anticipated primarily based on the preliminary deployment of large-scale PV energy crops in each international locations some ten years in the past.

With annual irradiation ranges over 2,700 kWh/m2/12 months, the Atacama Desert in Argentina and Chile is the sunniest space on the planet. Round ten years in the past, the primary utility-scale, multi-MW PV initiatives began in each international locations, and expectations have been excessive for the widespread adoption of photovoltaics over the entire continent. Rooftop PV, nevertheless, has by no means actually taken off in Argentina (30 MW out of the 1,300 MW of cumulative put in PV capability in 2023) or Chile (220 MW out of the 8,400 MW of cumulative put in PV capability in 2023), with lower than 3% of the entire put in capability on rooftops in each instances, and the explanations for that aren’t anticipated to alter quickly.

In 2018 Argentina established Dec Reg No. 986, with a goal of getting 1,000 MW of distributed technology (DG) PV installations on residential, industrial, industrial, and public buildings by 2030.  This decree was regulated by Resolucion No. 314 SGE 2018, with the next classes of users-generators:

  1. Small users-generators (UGpe): customers related to the distribution in low voltage, with a PV nameplate capability of as much as 3 kW.
  2. Medium users-generators (UGme): customers related to the distribution grid in low/medium voltage, with a PV nameplate capability between 3 and 300 kW.
  • Main users-generators (UGma): customers related to the distribution grid in low/medium voltage, with a PV nameplate capability between 300 kW and a pair of MW.

Funds below the Distributed Vitality Framework have the next necessities:

  • On the finish of every billing interval, users-generators obtain an bill detailing their consumption and vitality fed into the grid, in kWh with the corresponding costs of every unit expressed in Argentine pesos/kWh.
  • Vitality fed to the grid is measured, registered, and paid by distribution corporations, that are duly mirrored within the corresponding bill.
  • No further expenses from the distribution corporations are allowed.
  • Ought to the vitality fed into the grid be larger than the one consumed by the user-generator, the user-generator will get a credit score which might be taken into consideration for future billing intervals.
  • Credit in favor of users-generators don’t expire and stay within the corresponding account till they’re compensated.
  • Task of such credit to accounts of different customers of the identical distribution firm may be carried out in accordance with the process established by the corresponding regulatory company.

These internet billing circumstances are in precept fairly enticing, however up to now solely round 30 MW of distributed technology have been put in within the nation. The issue is that distribution utility tariffs, particularly residential tariffs, are sponsored and so low that the Levelized Price of Vitality (LCOE) of rooftop PV is way larger, and it’s not enticing for customers to undertake photo voltaic and develop into prosumers.

In Chile, with the publication of the technical normative of Legislation 20.571 in 2014, the “Web-Billing Legislation” got here into pressure, permitting PV programs as much as 100 kW to be put in behind the meter of regulated shoppers. Utility tariffs aren’t sponsored and the everyday payback interval of rooftop PV ranges from seven to 10 years. The size of rooftop PV adoption in Chile, nevertheless, has up to now not expanded a lot, particularly for residential prosumers, as a result of below the net-billing construction, profitability is just obtained for bigger self-consumption charges.

Totally different international locations have adopted both tax incentives (USA), feed-in tariffs (Australia and most of Europe) or internet metering (Brazil) and even internet billing (Argentina and Chile), and it makes a distinction in each the sizing of a rooftop PV system, and on the financial feasibility of going photo voltaic. Web metering transactions are often one-to-one, so the credit (often in kWh) are sometimes equal to the retail charge of electrical energy (what the person pays). Web billing credit (often in $) are sometimes equal to the wholesale charge of electrical energy (what the utility pays), which is lower than the retail charge. With internet metering, the electrical energy uploaded to the grid is value the identical because the electrical energy bought from the grid.

Web metering

The person receives invoice credit, nevertheless it’s not often a financial change. As a substitute, the credit from internet metering are “banked” and used when the prosumer wants to drag electrical energy from the grid on a cloudy day. Web metering credit may be rolled over month-to-month and are often a one-to-one change; the solar-generated kilowatt-hour (kWh) is value the identical as a grid-produced kWh. There’s additionally a small month-to-month service/interconnection price in lots of instances. This simplifies the vitality invoice as prosumers are solely billed for his or her internet vitality use: the consumption minus the vitality manufacturing. Web metering packages are a superb means for photo voltaic homeowners to retailer within the utility grid the vitality their photo voltaic roofs produce. Web metering makes rooftop PV extra priceless. Nonetheless, utility corporations argue that as a result of retail costs mirror enterprise bills along with the worth of electrical energy, internet metering credit are equal to extra than the worth of electrical energy and supply.

Web billing

As a substitute of banking the credit earned from the surplus vitality generated by rooftop PV, internet billing packages make it potential to promote that vitality to the utility, usually on the wholesale charge, and right here is the place it turns into a lot much less enticing than internet metering. Web billing is a financial change by which the vitality generated by a rooftop photo voltaic system is handled like that of a large-scale photo voltaic venture. The compensation charge will usually be decrease with internet billing than with internet metering.


Ultimately, as at all times, value is what issues. If a small turn-key rooftop PV system prices greater than double the value in Argentina and Chile ($1,750/kW) than in neighbor Brazil ($800/kW) or the world over in distant Australia ($700/W), and residential tariffs are low/sponsored, not even one of the best photo voltaic useful resource availability will save the day for rooftop PV anyplace.

Standard content material

Authors: Prof. Andrew Blakers /ANU) & Prof. Ricardo Rüther (UFSC).

Andrew.blakers@anu.edu.au and rruther@gmail.com

ISES, the International Solar Energy Society is an UN-accredited membership NGO based in 1954 working in direction of a world with 100% renewable vitality for all, used effectively and properly.

The views and opinions expressed on this article are the creator’s personal, and don’t essentially mirror these held by pv journal.

This content material is protected by copyright and might not be reused. If you wish to cooperate with us and want to reuse a few of our content material, please contact: editors@pv-magazine.com.

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