Brazil needs to improve grid in Minas Gerais to make space for solar

Through its energy auctions held between 2013 and 2015, Brazil has allocated approximately 2.65 GW of PV capacity for a total of 96 large-scale solar projects. The state of Minas Gerais was the state with the second largest share (19.2%) in solar projects in the auctions, with 68 large-scale projects totaling 510 MW.

According to a new study released by the government-run agency Empresa de Pesquisa Energética (EPE), the region, and in particular its northern and north-western areas where most of these solar projects are concentrated, need an improvement of the grid in order to make the construction of these plants viable.

The study identifies the region of Jaíba as a critical area where an access point to the network is needed, in order to connect the substation Pirapora 2 with the substation Três Marias through a 345 kV transmission line.

This plan, which is considered the most viable option to enable the new power plants to provide with power the local grid, is expected to require an investment of 376.8 million BRL ($113.6 million). Of this sum, 364.0 million will have to be devoted to the work for the expansion of the core network infrastructure, while another 12.8 million BRL will be used to improve the transmission system.

EPE predicts that the state of Minas Gerais will reach an installed PV capacity of 1,862 MW by 2025.