Small-scale distributed generation advanced in Chile


Chile’s Minister of Energy has published regulations to advance the development of distributed generation for self-consumption.

The rules cover small systems of up to 300kW and address issues including installation, connection, metering and payment for excess energy injected into the grid.

Such systems, which can be either wind or solar ‘non-conventional renewables’ or cogeneration, can be at the consumer’s premise or remote. They also can be jointly owned, paving the way for the emergence of energy communities. This is most likely to occur in the cities with the prevalence of apartment blocks and high rises.

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To establish an energy community all the members must be connected to the same distribution network and none are permitted to have a dominant ownership share.

“When we face the challenge of reactivating the economy of our country we need an efficient and sustainable energy sector,” said the Minister of Energy, Juan Carlos Jobet, on publication of the rules. “In this sense this regulation allows us to continue promoting Chile’s great potential for renewable energy with a robust approach that allows the development of projects.”

Under the rules, once an installation is ready, a connection notification is made to the distributor, which must respond with the date and time of the connection within 5 days and make the connection within the following 10 days.

The distributor also must be responsible for setting up a net metering procedure, with metering or estimates based on past activities being used. Customers will be rewarded according to the so-called ‘node price’, or the price at the generation-transmission level excluding the distribution costs in the final tariff.

This net metering scheme along with the community opportunity are likely to be the keys to stimulating Chile’s small-scale generation market, which so far has not taken off.

The rules come into effect on November 6.