ET Solar targets Brazil PV in alliance with local giant WEG

China’s ET Solar and Brazilian conglomerate WEG have formed a joint venture targeting Brazil’s fledgling PV market, as its government plans explosive growth in the sector.

Nanjing-based ET Solar and WEG – one of Brazil’s biggest industrial groups – said their consortium will offer turnkey project construction and O&M services.

They said the involvement of WEG in the venture means it can comply with the complex local-content requirements operated by Brazil’s national development bank BNDES, which guarantees developers access to highly preferential finance rates.

WEG was a key supplier to some of the earliest projects in the Brazilian solar sector, and is one of the only sources of locally-made inverters.

ET Solar was an early Chinese adopter of the vertically-integrated model, with its operations spanning module manufacturing, development, EPC and O&M. The WEG alliance was sealed via ET's subsidiary in Chile, where it has already struck PV deals.

The two partners are already talking to their first customers in Brazil and expect to start building their first projects in the first quarter of 2016.

Brazil has accelerated its ambitions in the solar sector from a negligible existing installed base to 7GW of utility-scale and 2.7GW of rooftop solar by 2024.

The country has attempted to spark that growth by contracting 1.7GW of PV in its first auctions to target the renewable source.

But PV manufacturing plans in Brazil have so far remained fitful, with only Chinese group BYD and local start-up Pure Energy definitely on board with factories, although US giant SunEdison has said it will build one.

Manfred Peter Johann, managing direction of WEG Automation, said: "ET Solar's global EPC experience delivering turnkey projects coupled with WEG's high-quality components will allow our consortium to offer products and services packages to investors that will conform with the financial pre-requisites established by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), at a moment when the Brazilian market is very receptive to PV solutions implementation.”

WEG is already a player in Brazil’s wind market, using its status as the only major Brazilian company to offer local-content-compliant turbines in competition with a clutch of overseas groups.

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