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Here comes the sun

It’s an innovative project supported by BHP Foundation through its Chile Country Program that’s helping harness the energy of the sun.

But for the local communities of northern Chile’s Arica and Parinacota region, using the sun to produce electricity, heat and light is also creating economic opportunities.

The Ayllu Solar project was first developed in 2015 by SERC Chile, a research centre created by Chile’s National Science and Technology Commission, to help local communities adapt to changing environmental conditions. 

That’s enabling them to deliver their own sustainable solar energy solutions and improve their living conditions in a lasting, sustainable way over time.

Since 2015, six solar reference projects have been implemented and supported by technical training and educational programs delivered to over 1,000 students through a network of 36 schools and 115 specially trained teachers. 

And it’s resulted in solutions like a fruit and vegetable dehydrating plant operated by the Vitorsol cooperative. The plant is powered by solar photo voltaic power plants installed with the support of Ayllu Solar.

Now, the rest of the world is hearing about Ayllu Solar’s success.

In November 2019, the project was featured in the 34th Solar World Congress in Santiago, Chile.  BHP Foundation was also a Premium Sponsor of the event.

The Congress saw almost 400 scientists and researchers from around the world share technologies and applications for solar energy. It was also a showcase for developments in Chile.

Alejandra Garcés, Director of BHP Foundation’s Chile Country Program said it was an opportunity to talk about the project’s impact in northern Chile and its relevance for a global market.  

‘Renewable energies are no longer an option,’ said Alejandra, ‘they are our only chance for a sustainable future.’

‘The Ayllu Solar project demonstrates that solar energy is key to sustainable development, both at a regional and national level.’

Read more about BHP Foundation’s partnership with SERC on the Ayllu Solar project.