Another big auction for solar in Brazil

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Brazilian energy agency the Empresa de Pesquisa Energetica (EPE) has published the bidding terms of the A-6 energy auction to be held on September 26.

Solar was excluded from last year’s procurement but, according to the terms for September’s auction, the technology will be entitled to compete alongside wind, hydro and thermal power projects.

Projects selected in the auction will be given until January 1, 2025 to begin commercial operation, with the six-year term explaining the A-6 designation. Interested developers have until next Friday to register project proposals.

Brazilian solar energy association ABSOLAR had called on the government to permit solar to compete in September’s tender as well as in A-6 auctions planned for 2020 and 2021. “This should be done in such a way that solar power has also the same treatment given to wind power and other renewable energy sources such as biomass and hydropower,” ABSOLAR chief executive Rodrigo Sauaia told pv magazine recently.

A big auction

Sauaia said the A-6 auctions would be the most important tenders in the years ahead, due to falling interest in contracting new projects in the four-year A-4 auctions.

Ministry of Energy and Mines-controlled agency the EPE has admitted 751 solar projects with a total generation capacity of 26 GW to the initial phase of the forthcoming A-4 auction, to be held on June 27. The total renewables capacity admitted to compete in that exercise now sits at 51.2 GW.

It is difficult to predict how much solar capacity will be awarded in the next two auctions but it is likely to be more than the 806 MW the Brazilian government allocated in last year’s A-4 exercise, the only national energy procurement to date in which PV was allowed to participate.

A three-year energy auction plan was unveiled by the ministry in March. It included six auctions for “new energy” – including solar – for which the ministry has scheduled two auctions per year: the A-4 and A-6 procurement rounds. After June, A-4 auctions will be held on April 23, 2020; and April 29, 2021. The A-6 auction dates after September will be on September 24, 2020; and September 30, 2021.