Canadian Solar to invest $23m in 350 MW Brazil module fab

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The manufacturing expansion plans of China’s Canadian Solar are gathering pace with this week’s confirmation that the company is to build its first production facility in Brazil.

Canadian Solar will invest 80 million reais ($23 million) in the 350 MW solar module fab, which will be located in Sorocaba in Sao Paulo. These plans have been on the cards for a while now, with Canadian Solar eager to broaden its capacity to produce panels outside of China.

Production in Brazil is expected to begin in September, and the initial panels to roll off the line will be used for PV projects that Canadian Solar is developing in the country. This will be the case for the first six months, Bloomberg reports, after which point the fab will allocate approximately 100 MW of modules to other developers.

In recent Brazilian auctions, Canadian Solar was successful in securing vast amounts of PV projects. In September last year the Tier-1 firm won solar contracts worth 185 MW at auction, adding to an early winning bid for 114 MW of capacity.

In total, the Chinese vertically integrated solar company has won contracts to sell more than 400 MW of solar PV in Brazil. With a manufacturing presence in the country, Canadian Solar will be eligible for low-cost loans from Brazilian development bank BNDES, which offers favorable rates for developers that use locally made components.

Brazil’s solar promise is inching closer towards realization, and the government is eager to ensure that the impending boom is rooted in a solid domestic manufacturing industry. In addition to Canadian Solar, other large solar firms have either developed – or expressed plans to develop – solar manufacturing facilities in the country, including BYD and JinkoSolar. However, recent slumps in the currency, and the ongoing political instability, has served to deter some investors in the country.

Canadian Solar, meanwhile, has said that it hopes to double the fab’s capacity once it is viable to do so.

At state level, Brazil’s government aims to have 3.5 GW of solar PV capacity installed by 2023, which would account for 1.8% of the nation’s energy generation capacity.