SER Energia planning 960 MW of PV projects in Brazil

Igor Fukushiro, in charge of business development at Sistemas de Energia Renovável, or SER Energia, tells pv magazine the Brazil-based company is planning to develop nearly one GW worth of large-scale photovoltaic projects in the northeast of Brazil, where the highest solar radiation is said to be.

He says the plan is to keep some of the projects under SER’s portfolio, while the remainder will either be jointly developed with other partners or sold. Meanwhile, the generated electricity is expected to be sold via an energy auction (expected in 2014), or on the free market.

Currently, SER has registered 930 MW of projects with ANEEL, Brazil’s national electricity regulatory agency. A total of 17 special purpose companies have been established to develop them; each will be 30 MW in size.

Overall, 270 MW are already in the environmental licensing phase which, says Fukushiro, is the last step before a project can participate in an auction, or to be available for construction on the free market segment.

Meanwhile, preliminary grid access has been negotiated for 480 MW, or 16 projects. SER has also secured the land for the projects, some of which it owns itself, while the remainder has been leased based on 30-year contracts.

"On the auction segment, the beginning of the installations will depend on the rules imposed by the government," Fukushiro explains, adding, "On the free market segment, it depends on the negotiations between the parties to make the PV projects feasible [i.e. investors and PPA agreements]."

SER estimates that each 30 MW photovoltaic project will cost $48 million, though Fukushiro explains that the exact costs are difficult to calculate, as no projects of this size have previously been built in Brazil. He adds, "The funds will come from a financial equation that will involve The National Development Bank, Private Equity Funds and own resources."

Regarding equipment, Fukushiro says SER is currently in discussions with "the world’s largest" manufacturers of photovoltaic modules, inverters and other necessary equipment. "We don´t have any closed deals," he says. "This subject will accelerate with the possibility of a coming solar energy auction."