Giant solar complex secures approval in northeast of Brazil

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Brazilian infrastructure and energy project developer Grupo Interalli says it has secured construction approval for the Marangatu Photovoltaic Complex, a 540 MW solar plant near the municipality of Brasileira, in the northeastern state of Piauí. Approval was awarded by local environment department the Secretaria Estadual do Meio Ambiente do Piauí.

The company said the giant solar plant – which would be the country’s largest PV facility – will be divided into 18 units with a capacity of 30 MW each.

“The Marangatu Complex will be installed in an area with high levels of solar radiation and will contribute to meet the country’s growing energy demand,” said Grupo Interalli CEO Fabrício Slavieiro Fumagalli. Work on the plant is expected to start in the second quarter of this year, he added.

It is unclear whether the project would compete in future renewable energy auctions or sell power through private PPAs, a business segment which has been receiving more attention of late, as a result of Portuguese utility EDP signing the first such contract in the country – a 15-year deal inked in September.

Corporate PPAs

The rising popularity of the corporate PPA model for utility-scale solar was confirmed by Rodrigo Sauaia, president of Brazilian solar association Absolar, who told pv magazine nine PV projects with PPAs of 10-20 years are planned in Brazil.

That PPAs may be the preferred option for the Marangatu project is also suggested by the lack of a clear schedule for future energy auctions involving solar. The last national auction that included PV was held in April 2018.

The state of Piauí hosts the 292 MW Nova Olinda project in Ribeira do Piauí – put into operation in September 2017 and sold to Chinese investment holding company CGN Energy International Holdings in mid-January – and also the 475 MW São Gonçalo solar park in São Gonçalo do Gurguéia, which is under construction by Italian energy giant Enel.