Brazil: more plans for big solar parks unveiled


Brazilian energy company Rio Alto Energia, a unit of the Grupo Rio Alto conglomerate, has announced in a press release it intends to expand the capacity of its Coremas solar complex from 93 MW to 300 MW.

The complex, located in the desert of Paraíba, in the homonymous state, southern Brazil, currently consists of the three units: the Coremas I, II, and III, of around 30 MW each, which were selected in the first three renewable energy auctions held by the Brazilian government between 2014 and 2015,

The company specified that the planned new seven facilities are now are now completely developed, approved by local authorities and ready to build, and that these projects are intended to compete in Brazil’s future auctions for solar and renewables.

The project is being financed, the company also said, by local banks Banco do Nordeste and Banco BTG Pactual, while also being financially backed by the European Union, and Nordic Power Partners, a joint venture between the IFU (Danish Sovereign Fund) and EE (European Energy). How much is being invested in the project, however, was not disclosed.

Meanwhile, another giant project has been announced for the city of Campo Grande, in the southern state of Mato Grosso do Sul. It is a $1.5 billion investment announced by manufacturer of pumps and valves Korea System Business (KSB), according to local portal Campo Grande News. The solar park will be part of a larger $2 billion project that was discussed by the company’s representatives with the authorities of Campo Grande, which has now decided to create a technical commission that will evaluate how the giant solar plant could be deployed in the city’s territory.

The project is intended to provide with power the local industrial district and to make Campo Grande into a “Smart City”, the local government said. An unnamed investor from Dubai is expected to support the project.

Several projects of this kind, planned to be built outside Brazil auction’s scheme, were announced over the past years and months across Brazil. None of them, however, has become reality to date. Merchant solar in the country, in fact, has to deal with several issues. According to Rodrigo Sauaia, the president of Brazilian solar association AB Solar, there are still two main challenges in the private solar PPA segment: direct competition with projects from other sources, such as old and already amortized hydroelectric plants, which can offer more competitive prices; and the difficulty of finding financing for PPPs, whose deadlines in Brazil vary between two and five years.

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