Brazil to embrace PV in energy plans

Solar panels at the Pituaçu football stadium in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil

Solar panels at the Pituaçu football stadium in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil

Brazil's plans for updating its rolling 10-year energy plan include big wins for renewables broadly, and solar in particular.

Over the next five years, or the period running from 2014-2018, the government expects to tender out 3.5GW of solar capacity and 9GW of wind, according to Maurício Tolmasquim, president of Brazil's main energy planning authority (EPE).

The final version of the plan will be published later this year, after further study and public consultations.

Construction of the projects may stretch out several years beyond 2018.

Still, it is the first time Brazil has included solar in its long-term energy planning process, which sees the country updating its 10-year plan every year, taking into account economic and demographic factors, as well as the country’s evolving energy needs.

In total the government intends to tender out 38.3GW of power-generation capacity over the next five years, including 14.7GW of large hydro, 7.5GW of thermal, 2.4GW of biomass and 1.2GW of small-scale hydro -- in addition to a combined 12.5GW of wind and solar.

As of last year, the five-year plan (running 2013-2017) called for 33GW of new capacity – including 17.3GW of hydro and 12.1GW of other renewables, with solar excluded altogether.

The 2014-2023 energy plan projects Brazilian power consumption will grow at an average rate of 4.3% a year.

From 2009 to the end of 2013, 11.8GW of wind projects were effectively commissioned in auctions.

Recently Tolmasquim said Brazil would have 2GW of large scale solar PV power plants in operation by 2019, taking into account this year's and upcoming auctions.

NRG Energy, GMP partner in Vermont

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