With the forthcoming Brazilian energy auction featuring PV for the first time, solar power developers have taken full advantage by submitting 109 applications totaling more than 2.7 GW.
Although wind power dominated applications for the A-3 2013 energy auction to be held on November 18 with 629 projects totaling more than 15 GW, solar plants accounted for the majority of the remaining applications with only 10 solar thermal projects.
Some 36 other schemes relating to technologies including biogas, biomass, natural gas-fired and hydro complete the 784 project total which would generate more than 19.4 GW of energy.
The Brazilian authorities will review the applications and Mauricio Tolmasquim, president of Brazil’s Energy Research Company (EPE), says the inclusion of solar plants sized 5 MW and above will herald the coming of age of solar in the country.
"With the verified fall of photovoltaic panel prices, solar energy generation will tend to gain space in the Brazilian energy matrix," said Mr Tolmasquim.
Generators must supply transmission lines
Under the terms of the federal auction, projects will have to come online by January 1, 2016 and the draft version of the auction notice document which will set a ceiling price for energy generated by the various technologies contains a requirement generators ensure transmission lines are in place by the same date.
The clause was inserted after previous auctions saw fully completed wind parks in northeast Brazil stand idle and earn revenue because transmission lines were not completed in time.
"With this measure, there is no risk consumers will have to pay for energy they are not receiving," Romeu Rufino, director general of Brazil’s National Electricity Agency (ANEEL) told newspaper O Globo.
Mr Rufino added, however, the end price of energy from the auction could be higher if the transmission line requirement is incorporated into the final auction notice.
Consultation call for auction notice terms
The ANEEL directorate announced it will hold a public consultation on the energy auction notice for two weeks from Wednesday onwards. The final notice is expected to be published one month ahead of the auction.
Some 72 of the 109 PV applications, amounting to 1.75 GW, are based in Bahia state with a further 11 plants, totaling 325 MW, to be based in Minas Gerais.
Paraíba has nine applications adding up to 254 MW and Ceará and Rio Grande do Norte share fourth place with five PV plants each, with a capacity of 105 MW and 115 MW, respectively.
Of the remaining states only Piauí, which has four PV plants totaling 112 MW, has more than one application. The remaining three projects are located in Goiás (5 MW), Pernambuco (29 MW) and Rondônia (30 MW).
Interested parties can contribute to the draft auction notice document from Wednesday by sending contributions to ANEEL at: email@example.com.