Brazil predicts 4.5 GW of installations through expanded net metering rules

Brazil’s National Electric Energy Agency (ANEEL) has approved modifications to the nation’s draft net metering regulations with the purpose of boosting the program. The agency forecasts that these modifications will enable the installation of 4.5 GW under net metering by 2024, and the new rules will take effect on March 1, 2016.

The nation’s PV sector has welcomed the new rules. Brazilian Solar Photovoltaic Energy Association (ABSolar) Executive Director Dr. Rodrigo Sauaia told pv magazine that he considers the changes “very important and very positive” for the PV sector.

The modifications affect access to the program in terms of the process and the type of projects admitted with the goal of making the program more attractive. This includes increasing the maximum capacity of installations from one megawatt to five megawatts. The period over which projects can accumulate credits will also increase from 36 to 60 months.

One of the larger changes introduced is a “remote self-consumption” mechanism, also known as Virtual Net Metering. Under this mechanism, net metering credits can be applied to other locations that belong to the same account holder. It also opens up the program to groups of consumers, by allowing the electricity generated to be distributed between multiple accounts.

The new regulations reduce the processing time for projects 75kW or smaller, referred to as “micro-generation” projects, to 34 days from the current 82 days.

The sector celebrates the improvements

ABSolar Executive Director Sauaia has described the new rules approved by ANEEL as “historic for the photovoltaic sector”. The association participated in the process of implementing the modifications, which lasted for several months.

With the inclusion of a mechanism for virtual net metering and the possibility that multiple electricity consumers can participate together in the program, the policy is greatly expanded beyond those in other Latin American nations.

“Brazil has positioned itself as one of the nations most advanced in its ambition,” according to Sauaia.

The approval of this new regulatory framework at the national level comes at a time when various Brazilian states are also creating measures to support self-consumption PV installations. At the beginning of this month, the states of Bahia, Maranhão, Mato Grosso and the Federal District applied tax exemptions for these types of installations.

This follows the introduction of similar exemptions in the states of São Paulo and Pernambuco at the beginning of the year.

ANEEL reports that by October a total of 1,285 installations have registered under net metering, and 96% of these are PV systems. With the modifications, the agency forecasts that the nation will reach 1.2 million installations in the year 2024.

Translation by Christian Roselund. The original article in Spanish can be read on the pv magazine LatinoAmérica website.