Inauguration of PV power plant with battery storage at Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa in Chile

Two innovative German companies have inaugurated a solar power and battery system at Tierra Hotels’ luxury Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa in Chile. The green power plant was developed and delivered by system provider Kraftwerk, with the innovative battery solution from Qinous allowing the exclusive off-grid desert resort to completely switch off its diesel generators during the day, and even part of the night.

The resort is located in the breathtaking landscape of the Chilean Atacama Desert far from the national electricity networks. It had previously relied on diesel generators for its power supply. In 2013, the photovoltaic (PV) project developer and turnkey installer Kraftwerk designed and installed a PV power plant at the site. Since then the PV system has been operating successfully in concert with the diesel generators, covering up to half of the hotel’s daytime electricity needs and leading to around 15% annual diesel savings.

Shortly after the installation of the PV system, Tierra Hotels was named the “Most Sustainable Tourism Company in Chile” for its use of solar energy and organic architecture.

“One of our core values in Tierra Hotels is the protection of our environment, that’s why we want to provide the best experience and service with minimal disruption,” said Miguel Purcell, the Executive Director of Tierra Hotels. “We’ve saved a significant amount of diesel over the past couple of years and have substantially decreased our carbon footprint. The experience we’ve had with running and maintaining the PV plant has encouraged us to take yet another step forward.”

Tierra Hotels took another big step forward on its sustainability journey in September and October 2017, when Kraftwerk and Qinous substantially expanded the PV plant and implemented a highly efficient lithium-ion battery storage and smart energy management solution. The system allows the resort to operate 100% on solar PV electricity during 8 – 9 hours of daylight each day, plus a few hours at night.

The new solar power and battery system will deliver diesel savings of up to 60% annually to hotel operator Tierra Hotels, significantly reducing operating costs as well as the hotel’s carbon footprint and air pollution. In addition, the sound of diesel generators is now a thing of the past at the Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa for much of the day and night, significantly enhancing the hotel guests’ experience in the natural environment of the Atacama Desert.

Kraftwerk and Qinous are convinced the hotel’s new power plant can serve as a model project leading the way for off-grid tourism towards cost-efficient and environmentally friendly electricity generation. “The PV-battery solution for Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa is a very important starting point to turn the entire remote area of San Pedro de Atacama into a green community”, said Kraftwerk’s Founder and Managing Director Karsten Schulte.

“This project is just the beginning of a new era of eco-tourism. It is a win-win situation. The hotel saves energy costs and at the same time protects the environment by saving thousands of tons of CO2 emissions. It actually proves that businesses as well as communities that are not connected to the electricity network do not have to be dependent on diesel generators anymore”, added Qinous Founder and Managing Director Steffen Heinrich.

The expansion of the Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa’s PV plant was selected as a showcase project by the German Energy Agency (dena). The project is part of the worldwide Renewable Energy Solutions (RES) Programme 2015/17, which is coordinated by dena and co-financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) within the German Energy Solutions Initiative.

“Right from the beginning we were very convinced of Kraftwerk´s and Qinous’ approach”, said dena’s Felix Schmid. “We are very happy with the result.”

On October 13, the new solar and storage system was inaugurated at an exclusive event at the Atacama Hotel & Spa, and was attended by the German Ambassador in Chile Dr Rolf Schulze, Dr Karsten Schulte from Kraftwerk, Steffen Heinrich from Qinous, Miguel Purcell from Tierra Hotels, and Felix Schmid from the German Energy Agency (dena).

Technical Project information

Business model:    Self-consumption
Region:                  San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Solar system:         156 kWp PV plant
Storage system:     QINOUS ESS QCompact L180 kW / 335 kWh
Site controller:        QINOUS Microgrid and Energy Management System             Installation date:    September/October 2017

KRAFTWERK Renewable Power Solutions

Kraftwerk was founded in 2010 in Weingarten, Germany and has project offices in Frankfurt, Berlin, Santiago de Chile and Cairo. Kraftwerk develops and implements customized solar energy solutions for grid-connected and off-grid applications and has been serving the Latin American market since 2011.


Qinous develops and manufactures fully integrated plug & play battery storage systems (QINOUS ESS) with integrated Microgrid and Energy Management System (MEMS). The QINOUS ESS applies to commercial and industrial customers in off-grid and on-grid applications up to the megawatt range. The QINOUS product platform provides high flexibility at competitive pricing through its standardized and modular design. In addition, the QINOUS ESS includes numerous interfaces to integrate conventional and renewable generation systems.

Tierra Hotels

A collection of adventure spa hotels in exceptional destinations, Tierra Hotels was founded by the Purcell family who has a long established reputation for offering fine hospitality at Ski Portillo, Chile. Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa opened in 2008 to rave views and was named to the Condé Nast Traveler “Hot List” along with other international accolades. Most recently, Tierra Atacama was named one of the 100 best hotels in the world by Travel and Leisure.

Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena)

The Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) – the German Energy Agency – is Germany’s centre of expertise for energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and intelligent energy systems. As “Agency for Applied Energy Transition”, it contributes to attaining the goals of energy and climate politics by developing solutions and putting them into practice, both nationally and internationally. In order to do this, it brings together partners from all areas of politics and business. dena’s partners are the Federal Republic of Germany and the KfW Group.

German Energy Solutions Initiative

The transfer of energy expertise, the promotion of foreign trade and the facilitation of international development cooperation are part of the German Energy Solutions Initiative, which is coordinated and financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The initiative offers networking and business opportunities in Germany and abroad, it showcases reference projects and facilitates capacity building.

dena Renewable Energy Solutions Programme(dena RES Programme)

The dena RES Programme was developed by the Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) – the German Energy Agency. This programme, co-financed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy within the German Energy Solutions Initiative, helps German renewable energy companies enter new markets. Within the framework of the programme, reference and demonstration projects are installed near prestigious institutions. The installation is accompanied by comprehensive PR, marketing and training programmes. These projects showcase high-quality German renewable energy technology and help participating companies gain a foothold in new markets.

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