CMPC takes the first step to install its photovoltaic network and consolidate its sustainable self-sufficiency

With 648 bifacial solar panels installed in the Carlos Douglas nursery in Cabrero, Biobío, the project will generate approximately 560 MWh/year, which is equivalent to more than half of the electricity consumed on site.

The network will also include facilities in Buin and Tiltil in the Metropolitan Region of Chile and in Chillán in the Ñuble Region. This is in addition to the energy self-sufficiency of its pulp mills through biomass, which even provides energy to the National Electricity Coordinator.

Understanding the need to generate clean and renewable energy, especially in times where the global climate crisis is exacerbating existing access difficulties, CMPC gave the go-ahead to the installation of a photovoltaic power generation network at various operational nodes. The latest milestone was the solar power plant inauguration at the Carlos Douglas nursery in Cabrero, Biobío.

This PV  solar facility should give rise to an average savings of USD 57 thousand per year, achieving energy self-consumption of greater than 50%, lending a hand to the National Electric Coordinator, and encouraging the generation of non-conventional renewable energy (NCRE) all at the same time. In addition, this is the start of a network of PV solar parks that will make a significant contribution to CMPC plants’ emissions reduction, which also helps increase the autonomy of operations in terms of energy. Furthermore, similar projects are under consideration for Buin, Chillán and Tiltil, which adds to the already existing autonomous energy production (using biomass) of the pulp mills. 

The vision behind sustainable goals

The milestone included the exhibition of a video of the project, a ribbon cutting ceremony, and the subsequent tour and commissioning of the energy generator. Participants included CMPC Chairman Luis Felipe Gazitúa, CMPC CEO Francisco Ruiz-Tagle, Forest Bioenergy Manager Enrique Donoso, Non-conventional Renewable Energies Manager Jorge Larrea, Op of Ciudad Luz Manager Andrés Steinaker, and the contractors who worked to build the solar park, in addition to collaborators of the Carlos Douglas Nursery and CMPC. 

Francisco Ruiz-Tagle stressed that these projects represent the company’s commitment to the environment. “We have laid out very specific sustainability goals, one of which is to reduce CO2 emissions. To do so, we have goals we must meet by 2030. We will use new technologies to achieve this goal of generating clean energy. That is what we are currently aiming for,” said the CMPC CEO. 

The area of the solar PV project is situated over 5,000 m2 with an installed capacity of 350 kWp (through 648 Jinko AAA solar panels of 545 kW each). It will generate approximately 560 MWh / year, meaning about 55% of the electricity consumed by the nursery will be self-supplied. It should be noted that the installation consists of bifacial panels; i.e., they can capture light on both sides.  

Non-conventional Renewable Energies Manager Jorge Larrea said, “This is one of the most advanced PV solar power plants in the world in its class, thus demonstrating one of the fundamental purposes of the company, which is to go much further in our environmental goals. One of the most significant features of this project is the use of quartz gravel at its base, which improves albedo and reflectance. The sun’s rays are absorbed directly not only on one side, but also by the reverse as well, leading to an overgeneration of approximately 15 to 25% of energy produced, making this project unique in the world.”

The design of the project began in 2021 with the support of the company’s Forest Bioenergy department and the advice of the Anabática consultancy to conduct a pre-feasibility study for developing 30 self-consumption PV solar power plants in CMPC production facilities, both in Chile and Brazil.

With this new solar energy park, CMPC continues to generate clean and renewable energy in its facilities in order to contribute to the diversification of power sources in Chile.

Carlos Douglas Nursery

CMPC’s Carlos Douglas Nursery sits on 165 hectares and is considered one of the largest and most modern forest nurseries in South America. It not only reproduces and multiplies the plants that CMPC grows to obtain wood and cellulose, it also works to grow an abundance of native species in order to help recover and conserve the endemic flora of Chile.