Brazil’s PV capacity exceeds 2.5 GW

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Brazil has become Latin America’s second-largest PV market, according to new figures released by Brazilian solar association ABSOLAR, based on data from energy regulator ANEEL.

In a short report, the trade body reveals that by the end of February, there were 73 utility-scale PV plants in operation throughout the country, with 2,056 MW of capacity connected to the national power system. The Brazilian states with the highest share of this capacity are Bahia, Minas Gerais and Piauí, with 650.2 MW, 515.0 MW and 270.0 MW, respectively.

These plants — all selected by the Brazilian government in three energy auctions it held between 2014 and 2015 — currently represent around 1.2% of Brazil’s total centralized power generation capacity. ABSOLAR also highlighted how large-scale PV has now surpassed nuclear power, which has a total capacity of 1.9 GW, making it the country’s seventh-largest electricity source.

The 2.05 GW reported by ABSOLAR — plus the 500 MW of distributed-generation solar capacity reported at the end of December — brings Brazil’s cumulative operational PV capacity to more than 2.55 GW. Most of this – around 371.9 MW – is new distributed-generation capacity from 2018 alone.

Brazil is currently supporting utility-scale PV through energy auctions. It is also supporting distributed-generation PV, which includes all solar installations up to 5 MW in size, through net metering.

With utility-scale solar, the Brazilian Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) recently announced that it will include solar in the A-4 Auction for the purchase of electricity from new power plants planned for Jun. 27, 2019, while for distributed generation the regulatory framework may now be reviewed by the government.