Sao Paulo on the verge of solar surge


São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state, has a total solar power generation potential of 12 TWh per year in areas with the absolute highest annual solar radiation, according to a new solar atlas unveiled by the state’s energy secretariat this month. These areas with the highest solar generation potential in the state total 732 square kilometers (0.3% of the state’s total area of 248,209 square kilometers) and the secretariat estimates they could host 9,100 MWp of installed capacity.

São Paulo’s 2020 target for solar energy development is 1 GW of installed solar capacity. This target includes 799 MW of thermal solar capacity (207 MW are already installed), 50 MW of photovoltaic solar capacity and 50 MW of concentrated solar power. The remaining 100 MW is set aside for passive solar energy exploitation in the form of solar architecture projects.

The new atlas, which was developed with the aim of attracting new investments in the sector, includes 25 detailed maps that illustrate the best areas for photovoltaic energy development. Approximately 10% of the analyzed areas would have suitable technical and economic conditions for solar energy generation, according to the study.

Some of the best areas for large-scale PV solar developments in São Paulo state are Araçatuba (5,520 kWh per square meter a day), Barretos (5,509 kWh per square meter a day) and Rio Preto (5,512 kWh per square meter a day), according to the atlas.

José Aníbal, São Paulo’s energy secretary, said that investments in photovoltaic energy production will “open the way” for sustainable development in São Paulo, adding that the state has double the maximum global solar irradiation than that of Germany, where the solar industry accounts for 130,000 jobs and numbers 10,000 companies.

The new solar atlas was developed with support from Allianz, EBES, Eaton, Leros Energia, Martifer Solar, MES Energia and New Generation Power.