LA PAZ – Bolivia has inaugurated its first solar energy plant, built by Spanish company Isotron and partly financed with a grant from Denmark.
President Evo Morales, who attended the inauguration in Cobija, 700 kilometers (435 miles) north of La Paz, said the plant will initially generate 1.7 MW before reaching its maximum output of 5 MW in November.
Built on 11 hectares (27 acres) of land near the border with Brazil, the facility has 17,334 solar panels. Denmark paid 60 percent of the cost of the $11.8 million project, while the Bolivian government covered the rest.
State-owned utility ENE said the Cobija solar energy plant is unique in the world, as it generates power from both photovoltaic panels and diesel fuel.
The city of Cobija is not connected to the Bolivian national electric grid and obtains most of its power from diesel-fueled plants.
Cobija and the nearby towns of Puerto Rico and Porvenir have a combined demand of 9 MW and the new plant will supply move than 50 percent of that, allowing a reduction in diesel imports that will save the government about $3 million a year.
This was the first work in Bolivia by Isastur subsidiary Isotron. Other Spanish engineering companies are at work building facilities for the Bolivian oil and gas industry.