Brazil had 1,601 MW of grid-connected solar power at the end of June 2018, according to the Monthly Bulletin on the Monitoring of the Electric System from the Brazilian Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM).
This capacity is represented by 1,307 MW of large-scale PV projects selected in auctions held by the Brazilian government, and 296 MW of distributed generation solar power generators (up to 5 MW).
At the end of June 2017, utility-scale solar reached a share of just 145 MW, while DG installations totaled 92 MW. This means that, over the past 12 months, a total of 1.36 GW were connected to the country’s grid, and that growth was stronger than ever in both segments.
Most of this 1.36 GW, however, was installed in the second half of 2017. The MEM stressed, in fact, that newly installed solar power for the first six months of this year was just 337.9 MW.
Despite this strong increase, at 1% – of which 0.8% comprises large-scale installations, and 0.2%, DG generators – solar's share of Brazil's overall electricity generation capacity, which totals 160.3 GW, remains small.
Hydropower is still the largest power source, at 63.7%, followed by thermal power plants (including biomass) at 27.2%. Wind is the third largest source, before solar, with a share of 8.1%, and an installed capacity of 12.9 GW.
Looking forward, the MEM said it expects total newly installed PV capacity for 2018 to reach 490.2 MW, while for 2019, a volume of 495.1 MW is predicted. The MEM, however, usually provides conservative forecasts and, especially due to the strong potential of distributed generation, installed PV power for the next two years may be much larger.
In a recent report, Brazilian consultancy Greener spoke of the strong potential of DG in Brazil, and the fact that prices have continued to fall considerably in recent months.