Origin and Contributions

This project started in 2009 as a joint effort between Universidad de Chile and the financial support of Compañía Minera Doña Inés de Collahuasi. A multidisciplinary team of electrical and mechanical engineers, industrial designers and sociologists was assembled to work on it. The initiative has been underway since 2010, a period in which the community of Huatacondo has been assisted regularly by the CE team.


  • Guillermo Jiménez – Director
  • Patricio Mendoza – Coordinador de área
  • Ignacio Polanco
  • Fernando Lanas
  • José Ascui
  • Rene Rosatti
  • Francisca Herrera

Lines Involved

Smart Grids.

Project Description

This project develops the first renewable energy-based smart microgrid that involves the community in the efficient use of energy and the system operation. Its main objective is to provide the town of Huatacondo, in the region of Tarapacá, with electricity 24 hours a day thanks to the use of renewable energies.

Some of its most remarkable features are the innovations and peculiarities of the Huatacondo facilities, considering the relation with the community, the town’s electric, communication and geographical isolation, as well as the use of natural sources for the generation of renewable energy.

Currently, this Project has reached 60% of renewable penetration based on the following combination:

  1. 22.68 [kW] Main photovoltaic plant with one axis tracking.
  2. 120 [kVA] Diesel group.
  3. 129 [kWh] Energy storage system.

The project’s social intervention has taken into account the direct involvement of the community in the decision-making processes, empowering people and turning them into operators while giving them responsibilities over efficient use of energy and minor maintenance.
This project breaks the barrier of taking cutting-edge technology to small towns afar from big cities, thus generating efficient solutions that can be replicated in different spots of electric distribution. This process strengthens and stabilizes isolated and interconnected electricity systems.

  • Jiménez-Estevez, R. Palma-Behnke, D. Ortiz-Villalba, O. Núñez, and C. Silva.: “It Takes a Village: Social SCADA and Approaches to Community Engagement in Isolated Microgrids”, IEEE Power and Energy Magazine, Volume: 12, Issue: 4, pp: 60-69, 2014.
  • Palma-Behnke R., Benavides C., Lanas F., Severino B., Reyes L., Llanos J., Sáez D.: “A Microgrid Energy Management System Based on the Rolling Horizon Strategy”, IEEE Transactions on Smartgrids, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp: 996-1006, june 2013.
  • Núñez O., Ortiz D., Palma R.: “Micro redes en la red eléctrica del futuro: el caso Huatacondo”, Revista Ciencia y Tecnología – Universidad de Costa Rica, Vol. 29, Issue 2, 2013.
  • Núñez O., Ortiz D., Palma R., Jiménez G., Silva C.: “Sustentabilidad de Micro redes: El Social SCADA”, Revista Chilena de Ingeniería – Anales del Instituto de Ingenieros, No 467, pp: 77-86, December 2012.