EDF EN bolsters LatAm presence after 191MW deal with Canadian Solar

France’s EDF Energies Nouvelles (EDF EN) has reached a 1.4GW project portfolio in Latin America with the acquisition of an 80% stake in the 191MW Pirapora solar project from Canadian Solar for an undisclosed amount.

By 2019, the French company will have 542MW of regional solar operational – which, apart from Pirapora, includes the 90MW Bluemex project in Mexico, and the 136MW Boltero and 115MW Santiago Solar in Chile – and 826MW of wind, including several projects being built in Brazil, 391MW operational in Mexico and the 252MW Gunaa Sicarú it won at the second Mexican tender last month.

“With these new large-scale Latin American projects, EDF EN has demonstrated its ability to undertake projects through to fruition in these promising and competitive markets alongside local partners possessing proven context knowledge. Our future 1.4 GW wind and solar energy portfolio, as well as the future Brazilian hydro project SINOP, will make a significant contribution towards the EDF Group’s goal of doubling its renewable capacity by 2030,” said Antoine Cahuzac, CEO of EDF EN.

EDF current has a 9GW renewables portfolio – mostly wind, solar and hydro – across Europe, US, China and now Latin America.

This is the French company’s first investment in solar power in Brazil since it entered the market in mid-2015 by acquiring an 800MW pipeline from Sowitec, of which two projects are being built.

This follows a trend of large international utilities increasing investments in the country’s renewable energy market. EDF joins Engie, Iberdrola, EDP Renovaveis and more recently China’s State Grid, which acquired a stake in CPFL Renovaveis following the acquisition of a controlling stake in CPFL Energia.

Canadian Solar will keep the other 20% of Pirapora I and will supply solar modules that will be manufactured in its 360MW production facility in Brazil. The module assembly plant – one of two Tier 1 solar module plants being built in Brazil – is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

Canadian Solar has been one of the leading winners in Brazil’s three solar power tenders, which contracted about 3GW of projects to be built by 2018.

It says it has projects with a total capacity of 394MW won at the three tenders, although it is among nine developers who are considering giving up a total of some 700MW of solar PV projects won at the 2014 auction.

Brazil has under 100MW of solar PV capacity – including rooftop – which is expected to reach 7GW by 2024, while its wind capacity currently stands at 11GW and is expected to top 22GW by the same date according to the government’s 10-year plan.