100MW Brazil PV plant planned

Plans are underway to build a 100MW PV power plant in the Brazilian state of São Paulo, Recharge has been told by local officials.

An unnamed major industrial group wants to develop the project in São João da Boa Vista, a municipality 220km west of São Paulo city, according to state secretary of energy José Aníbal.

The PV plant  would be among the largest yet mooted in Brazil or the wider Latin American region.

Aníbal’s deputy Milton Flavio Lautenschlager tells Recharge the developer is in talks with Germany-based PV manufacturer Q-Cells – bought last year by Korea’s Hanwha Group – and a Spanish solar company to jointly build, equip and operate the power plant.

Lautenschlager adds that nothing has yet been agreed, and talks over the next few weeks will attempt to finalise the deal.

Q-Cells has not so far responded to an enquiry from Recharge about the project.

The São Paulo officials add that they have been surprised by the highly-competitive power prices being talked about by the European suppliers.

Power from the 100MW plant would be used to supply the industrial group’s affiliates in the region.

If it goes ahead, the project would be a major boost for the renewable energy ambitions of São Paulo – Brazil’s richest and most populous state, which accounts for one-third of national GDP.

The state government has just released a new study that claims a 9GW total solar development potential, mainly in its north and west regions.

The “Solar Atlas” hopes to draw investors’ attention to a sector that it claims has the potential to meet 30% of São Paulo’s domestic power needs.

Governor Geraldo Alckmin has also announced local tax exemptions for PV and CSP equipment, adding to those already granted to solar heating and wind suppliers last December.

In practice the tax breaks will solely benefit Tecnometal – Brazil’s only PV module manufacturer – which has a production capacity of 25MW per year.

Brazil as a whole is seen as having a massive solar potential. However, so far less than 20MW of different solar technologies have come online – all of them as pilot schemes.