Obama: US to help Chile build massive solar plant


President Obama said Monday that the U.S. would help construct a major solar power plant in Chile.

The project, which will be built in Chile's Atacama Desert, would be the largest solar plant in Latin America.

"We’re both very interested in energy and how we can transition to a clean energy economy. And we’ll be announcing some collaborations, including the facilitation of a construction of a major solar plant inside of Chile that can help meet their energy needs," Obama said before the bilateral meeting with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

The Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC) approved a loan guarantee of $230 million to support construction of the 141-megawatt solar plant, which is being built by Arizona-based First Solar.

The power plant will help diversify Chile's energy sources while supporting Obama's national export agenda by facilitating roughly $97 million in U.S. exports, according to the White House.

Since 2013, OPIC has approved $900 million in loan guarantees for six renewable energy projects in Chile, making the U.S. the largest lender for renewable energy in the country.

Bachelet added that the U.S. is Chile's "most important foreign investor."

The six renewable energy projects are expected to cut 2.1 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, generate more than $290 million in U.S. exports, and support more than 400 jobs in the U.S., according to the White House.