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Chile tests durability of solar devices in desert

Staff Writer | July 6, 2016
Chile's Universidad Catolica said that its engineering school is conducting research on the adaptation of solar energy technologies to the high levels of salinity and radiation in the Atacama desert.
Atacama solar
Green in LatAm   The extreme conditions prevailing in the Atacama
The project, aimed at establishing certification standards for materials and components to be used in desert environments, involves roughly 150 researchers, the UC engineering school said in a statement.

"The northern region of Chile exhibits the world's highest levels of solar radiation," Rodrigo Escobar, a professor of metallurgy and mechanical engineering, said. "The desert environment presents a challenge for the durability of solar technologies."

Researchers aim to determine which solar-device materials and components are best for "the extreme conditions prevailing in the Atacama Desert," Escobar said.

The project, he said, will give additional impetus to solar energy in northern Chile, where 29 installation are already operating, with 15 more in the planning stage.