BYD, the Chinese solar module, energy storage and electric vehicle manufacturer, has announced this week it is to open its very first overseas PV research and development (R&D) center, via a partnership with Brazil’s Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp).
The facility will be set up with an initial investment of R$ 5 million (US$1.5 million), and thereafter will be boosted by a percentage of BYD’s domestic net sales generated in Brazil. Preliminary funding set aside is 4% of net sales for 2017-18, rising to 5% for 2019-20, the company confirmed.
Unicamp and BYD’s collaboration falls under the Brazilian government’s PADIS (Program of Support to the Technological Development of the Semiconductor Industry and Displays), and the aim for both parties is to establish channels to develop and bolster Brazil’s solar PV know-know.
The country is one of the frontrunners of Latin America’s solar surge, and BYD has been eager to build upon it presence in the region for some time. Currently, the Chinese firm has a solar PV production facility in Campinas, which was opened as recently as April to augment its existing storage and electric mobility facilities in the country.
With an R&D facility in the offing, BYD is poised to become the first company in Brazil to offer comprehensive zero emission energy ecosystem technology, incorporating solar generation and research, storage, and transportation.
“With a global R&D staff of over 20,000 engineers and researchers, and featuring among Fortune Magazine’s ’15 companies changing the world’, the importance BYD gives to technological research is very clear,” said BYD global VP Stella Li.
Unicamp dean Marcelo Knobel added that the partnership is a great opportunity for the university. “BYD chose Campinas as its base in Brazil, and we are convinced that Unicamp will be an important partner in research and development in the field of PV, which will certainly lead to the establishment of other collaborations in the future.”