Enel begins work on 475 MW solar plant in Brazil

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The Brazilian subsidiary of Italy’s Enel has announced the start of the construction of the 475 MW São Gonçalo solar park  in São Gonçalo do Gurguéia, in the state of Piauí, in northeastern Brazil.

The São Gonçalo project, which is expected to start operating in 2020, is the largest photovoltaic installation currently under construction in South America. The Enel Group will invest around 1,400 million Brazilian BRL (about $390 million) in its construction.

Of the 475 MW of installed capacity in São Gonçalo, 388 MW were awarded to the Enel Group in Brazil’s A-4 auction held in December 2017 and are backed by a 20-year PPA with a group of distribution companies that operate in Brazil’s regulated market. The remaining 87 MW is expected to generate energy for the free market.

Once fully operational, the plant will generate more than 1,200 GWh per year and will prevent the emission of more than 600,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

In 2015, the Italian company Alba Energia also presented to the Government of Piauí its plans to carry out a 420 MW solar project in Sao Joao do Piauí. At the time, it was estimated that the project would involve an investment of 2 billion BRL (approximately $656 million). In the same year, there was also an announcement that Enel planned to invest in the state, but these investments were not completed until the start of the 292 MW Nova Olinda plant was announced at the end of 2017.

In Brazil, the Enel Group, through its subsidiaries EGPB and Enel Brasil, has a currentyl an operational PV capacity of 820 MW. In June, it also acquired 73% of Eletropaulo, the largest distributor in the country.