Brazil hits 1 GW solar milestone


Brazil is the second Latin American country to cross the 1 GW mark of installed PV capacity after Chile.

According to statistics released by the local solar association ABSOLAR, the country has reached a cumulative installed solar power of around 1,099.6 MW, of which 935.3 MW is represented by large-scale solar plants, and 164.3 MW by distributed generation PV power generators (up to 5 MW).

As for the large-scale segment, a strong increase in capacity was due to the commissioning of solar facilities contracted by the federal government in electric power auctions it held in 2014 and 2015.

These operational plants are located mainly in the states of Bahia, Piauí, Minas Gerais, Rio Grande do Norte and Pernambuco.

Around 284 MW of PV power was connected to the grid in November by Canadian Solar and EDF in the state of Minas Gerais.

Earlier in September, meanwhile, Italian power utility Enel energized the Ituverava (254 MW) and Nova Olinda (292 MW) solar projects in Bahía and Piauí, respectively.

As of the end of August of this year, Brazil’s installed PV capacity was around 237 MW, with distributed generation representing 92 MW of total capacity and large-scale solar accounting for the remaining 145 MW.

At the end of 2016, large-scale PV had only 24 MW of installed capacity. This means that in 2017 alone, around 910 MW of newly installed PV capacity was brought online in Brazil.

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“We are optimistic about this historic step for the solar photovoltaic source in Brazil, with the certainty that we will have a strong growth of the sector in the coming years and decades,” said ABSOLAR president, Rodrigo Sauaia.

“Brazil has a huge solar resource and there is an increasing interest from the population, companies and also public entities in harnessing their roofs, facades and parking lots to generate renewable energy locally, saving money and contributing in practice to the construction of a country more sustainable and with more local and quality renewable jobs.”

According to a recent report released by the local consultancy company Greener, of the 889 MW (AC) of solar capacity that was assigned in the auction held in 2014, only 570 MW had a high probability of becoming operational.

As for the two auctions that were held in 2015, in which 883.7 MW (AC) and 929.3 MW (AC) of solar power were contracted, respectively, Greener believes that around 1.18 GW have a very good chance of becoming operational, while another 544.3 MW have a medium probability of coming online.

Overall, 1,748 MW from the three auctions have a high probability of success, says the consultancy, while 249.7 MW were cancelled, 544.3 MW have a medium probability of completion, and 110 MW have a low probability of becoming operational. All of this capacity must come online by the end of this year.

In its most recent auction, which was held in December of last year, around 574 MW (AC) of PV projects were selected by the Brazilian government. These must be connected to the grid by the end of 2020.

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