Brazil approves new solar legislation

Under the first change, the Power Compensation System, ANEEL announced new regulations for net metering, meaning both businesses and residential customers can earn credits for their electricity bills, thus helping them to reduce the amount they pay for energy. The credits will be valid for 36 months.

The legislation covers both micro (up to 100 kW) and macro (100 kW to one MW) of photovoltaic power generation. "Customers [will be able] to gain credits on their electricity bill at both the site of power generation and remote sites by feeding excess power generation from PV systems into the distribution grid," it said in a statement released.

The second change will mean Brazil’s utilities are eligible for an 80 percent discount on taxes paid for the distribution (Distribution System Usage Tariff ) and transmission (Transmission System Usage Tariff) of generated power from solar plants up to 30 MW in size.

According to the statement, enterprises that enter into commercial operation by December 31, 2017, will have the discount of 80 percent applied to the tariffs during the first 10 years of operation. After the tenth year of operation, this discount will be reduced to 50 percent. Meanwhile, for enterprises which enter into commercial operation after December 31, 2017, a 50 percent discount will be available.

As a result of the changes, NPD Solarbuzz forecasts that the country will see a solar growth rate of 350 percent in 2012. By 2014, it reportedly believes that this figure could triple.

Installed capacity

Currently Brazil’s installed photovoltaic capacity is negligible. According to sources, the country has installed between 12 and 15 MWp.

Last June, the country connected its first commercial-scale photovoltaic plant to the grid. The one MW project is located in the city of Tauá, 360 kilometers from Fortaleza, the capital city of the Ceará region.

Shortly after the announcement, it was said that the plant would increase in size, following a new agreement between MPX and GE. The second phase has been authorized by the National Electrical Energy Agency (ANEEL) and licensed by the Ceara state Environment Department (SEMACE) to expand its capacity up to five MW. Eduardo Karrer, CEO of MPX added that the goal is to increase this amount to 50 MW in the future. "MPX … has invested in developing solar energy for the medium and long term," he stated. "Working with GE, we plan to grow our business at this plant to 50 MW."

Just last week, Gehrlicher announced that it had grid connected a 408 kWp photovoltaic project at Brazil’s Pituaçu football stadium in Salvador de Bahia.