Brazil’s hydroelectric company Chesf builds another MW-sized PV plant

Brazil’s hydroelectric power producer Companhia Hidrelétrica do São Francisco (Chesf), which serves several cities across the north-east of the country, announced it has started construction on another MW-sized PV plant.

The 3 MW solar facility, which will be located in Petrolina, in the state of Pernambuco, will consist of a 2.5 MW standard plant and a 500 kW section, which will be used to test different PV technologies, the company said in a press release. Construction on the plant is scheduled for completion in 2018.

The project, which is being built at a cost of 54.3 millon BRL (around $13.7 million), is part of the Crep program, a Chesf initiative that also includes the construction on three R&D facilities for solar technologies. Overall, the program has a required investment of 152 million BRL.

The 3 MW plant in Petrolina is not the first solar project planned by Chesf. The company began construction of its second PV facility, a 5 MW floating plant at the Sobradinho dam, a 175 MW hydroelectric dam built on the São Francisco River in Sobradinho, in the state of Bahia, in March 2016. Furthermore, the company is already operating a 10 MW floating facility at the Balbina dam, a hydroelectric dam and power station on the Uatumã River in the Amazon Rainforest.

The company started to prepare for floating projects after the Brazilian government announced in 2014 a plan to incorporate this kind of power facilities at all the country’s water reservoirs. At the time, a drought crisis affected several hydroelectric power plants in Brazil’s southeast and central regions.