Brazil's first PV auction set for October

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The Brazilian Ministry of Energy and Mines has set the date of the first auction that will have a specific category for PV projectson for October 10.

This reserve energy auction, in which there is also a category for wind and a category for biomass, is open to projects with over 5 MW in the PV category.

According to a resolution from the ministry published on Monday, winning projects are to start operations October 1, 2017. The contracts that are closed for PV projects as part of the auction will last for 20 years.

The government has set July 10 as the deadline for the projects that will participate in the auction to apply for the authorization with the Brazilian federal energy planning company Empresa de Pesquisa Energética (EPE). Projects that are already registered to obtain technical authorizations for the A-3 and A-5 auctions this year — the A-5 auction that takes place in September is open to solar projects — can apply for an easier registration with the EPE.

The Brazilian government has not yet set the maximum price for PV in the auction. The number of projects that can win tenders at the auction has also not been defined. Last week EPE official José Carlos de Miranda Farias indicated during a Brazilian Electrical and Electronics Industry Association (Abinee) event that around 500 MW in solar projects could be awarded in the reserve energy auction. Recently, EPE President Mauricio Tolmasquim said that between 2014 and 2018 about 3.5 GW in solar projects could be awarded through national auctions in Brazil.

This year, solar energy projects can also participate in an A-5 auction in Brazil that takes place on September 12. According to EPE, 225 PV projects with a combined 6,102 MW have registered to obtain technical permits in order to participate in this auction.

Last year for the first time solar energy projects were allowed to participate in national auctions in Brazil. Solar projects participated in the A-3 and A-5 auctions. Winning projects would have had to start operations in three to five years after their successful bids, but no solar projects were awarded tenders. The maximum price for the category of PV and wind in these auctions were BRL 126 ($56) and BRL 122 ($54) per megawatt hour.

To date the only auction for large-scale solar projects that has taken place in Brazil was a solar auction coordinated by the Brazilian state of Pernambuco, which took place in December; 123 MW in solar projects were awarded tenders.

In addition to Pernambuco, the governments of the Brazilian states of Piaui and Minas Gerais are also interested in launching similar auctions for solar projects. According to the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency (Aneel), the current cumulated power of on-grid PV systems in the country is about 9 MW.