Chinese renewable energy company SkySolar announced this week that it intends to invest $900 million in a solar park in Chile, marking the largest investment a Chinese company has made in Chile.
The solar energy park in Chile will cost $1.2 billion in total and is a joint project between SkySolar and Chile’s Sigdo Koppers and China Development Bank. When construction is complete, the park will generate 300-megawatts of electricity for Chile, a country that has struggled to meet its national energy demand.
China and Chile signed a free-trade deal in 2006, an agreement which was recently extended and expanded to include trade accords for phytosanitary certificates for Chilean livestock and export deals for agricultural products. According to CBS News, Chile would welcome other large Chinese investments within the country, including a new bridge that is under development to connect Chiloe Island to the Chilean mainland.
Matias Mori is the head of the Chile’s Foreign Investment Committee. “These are all incredibly positive signs in our efforts to attract Chinese investment. We’re setting a milestone with this solar park,” Mori said.
Between 1974 and 2010, Chinese investment in Chile was only about $100 million annually; in the last two years, however, that amount has doubled and even tripled. Chinese investments were $205 million in 2011 with 2012 estimates already topping $300 million.