Brazil’s PV capacity tops 237 MW, 1 GW expected by the end of 2017

Cumulative installed PV power has reached 237 MW in Brazil as of the end of June, according to provisional statistics provided by the country’s Minister of Mines and Energy (MME).

According to the MME’s report, distributed generation PV systems (up to 5 MW) installed in Brazil had totaled 92 MW, while newly installed capacity for this kind of installation in the first six months of 2017 was 35 MW. According to the Brazilian solar association AB SOLAR, however, PV distributed generation had already reached 100 MW as of the end of July.

Furthermore, MME’s report reveals that large-scale solar plants selected through public auctions (over 5 MW) have reached a combined capacity 145 MW. At the end of 2016, large-scale PV had only 24 MW of installed capacity. MME’s statistics, however, seem not to include the 158 MW Bom Jesus da Lapa project, which started operations in June, according to the plant owner, Italian power utility Enel. The solar park is located in Bom Jesus da Lapa, in the state of Bahia, and was selected by the Brazilian government in one of the two wind and solar power auctions it held in 2015.

The MME said in the report it expects another 530.4 MW of PV plants awarded in the auctions to come online by the end of 2017, and that a further 1.34 GW will be connected to the grid in 2018. If these forecasts are confirmed, large-scale solar may reach in Brazil 675 MW at the end of December of this year. AB SOLAR, however, is more optimistic as it believes that Brazil may even reach 850 MW of solar plants and 150 MW of solar distributed generation by year end, thus crossing the 1 GW milestone.

Currently, Brazil has a total power generation capacity of 152.8 GW, according to the MME. Most of this capacity is represented by hydropower plants with a combined capacity of 98.7 MW and a 64.6% share in the country’s electricity mix. Thermal power plants, which also include biomass, have a capacity of 43.2 GW and a 28.2% share. Wind power, on the other hand, has a 7% share and 10.7 GW of installed power. Solar, on the other hand, still plays a limited role in Brazil’s electricity system with a percentage share of just 0.2%.