Brazil to build first PV module manufacturing facility

The new facility will be built by Grupo Brasil Solair (GBS) across 2 hectares of land in the Pedras de Fogo industrial district, and the necessary technology will be supplied by Germany’s Schmid Group.

The details of the project, which is expected to cost around BRL217 million (around (US$107 million, or €85.5 million), were agreed upon during a meeting between GBS’ Bruno Queiroga and Márcio Matta, Schmid Group vice president Frank Tinnefeld, representatives of the Paraíba Development Company (Cinep) and other state government officials.

With an investment of BRL17 million, the first phase will see 30 MW of photovoltaic module production capacity come online and around 74 new jobs created. It is believed most of the initial production will cater to demand from condominiums and businesses in the domestic market.

Meanwhile, the second phase, in partnership with Schmid Group, will focus on the vertical integration of production, from polysilicon to final production of solar panels.

Juliano Gorski Antônio, Cinep’s director of economic development, stressed that the project’s true importance is in the technology transfer component. "The state [Paraíba] can accommodate the entire production chain for photovoltaics," he added.

GBS plans to invest around BRL200 million in the second phase, which is expected to create an additional 140 direct jobs, said Bruno Queiroga, GBS’s director of institutional relations. GBS also plans to produce electronic equipment, such as intelligent meters, concentrators and inverters in Paraíba, he disclosed.

When selecting a site for the new solar equipment plant, GBS opted for Paraíba because of its geographic position in the sun-rich northeast region, qualified labor force with training centers available at the UFPB and UFCG universities and "because of the incentives policy put in place by the state government, including the award of fiscal and location incentives by Cinep, lack of red tape and speed of implementation".

"Just as the sun rises first in Paraíba, the photovoltaic industry in Brazil will also be born here first," said Queiroga.

Edited by Becky Beetz.