Brazilian energy regulator recommends keeping incentives for distributed solar

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Brazilian energy regulator the Agência Nacional de Energia Elétrica (ANEEL) has recommended keeping the current rules for distributed generation in a public consultation it has launched about a planned review of distributed generation rules, which in Brazil apply to all generators with systems up to 5 MW in scale.

In its statement, the regulator said tariffs granted under the net metering regime should be left unchanged until the installed capacity of micro and mini distributed energy systems reaches a certain level. “Studies, however, indicate that maintaining the current rules indefinitely can lead to high costs for the other users of the network, who did not install their own generation. In this sense, it would be necessary to modify the rules after further consolidation of the distributed generation market,” ANEEL added.

ANEEL director-general André Pepitone said, when new rules are approved they will be applied only to new entrants in the distributed generation business. For those who are already generating power under net metering, the current rules will be maintained. “We have regulatory stability, regulation is for the future, for new entrants,” he said, referring to the growth of distributed generation as an “inexorable movement that allows consumer empowerment”.

Power companies fear advance of DG

In mid-November, Brazilian solar association ABSOLAR warned against requests by Brazilian distributors to change the rules so consumers with distributed generation would pay more for distribution networks. The motivation is purely financial, said ABSOLAR, adding: “By empowering consumers by making them active producers of their own renewable and more independent energy, distributed solar photovoltaic generation threatens the revenues and profits of distributors that do not adapt to the new reality of the market.”

The association cited ANEEL data indicating the reduction of average revenue for distributors that would be caused by a growth of distributed generation to 150,000 consumer units by 2020 would be less than 0.1%, and the average impact on consumer tariffs would be less than 1%.

Last year, solar distributed generation increased at its fastest rate, with 371.9 MW of new capacity installed.

What President Bolsonaro will decide on the future of residential and commercial and industrial solar is an unknown. pv magazine’s Latam editor, Pilar Sánchez Molina has compiled the energy sector promises made by the new president during his electoral campaign. From her analysis, it seems likely he will maintain a focus on hydropower, gas and fossil fuels, despite his stated intention to take advantage of the great potential of solar and wind in northeastern Brazil.