Brazil agencies seek to boost international solar profile

14/09/15 | São Paulo

Recharge News

Brazil's export and investment agency Apex-Brasil and the Brazilian Solar Power Association (ABSOLAR) have signed a co-operation deal to seek investment in the solar industry from companies in the US, Europe and Asia. 

While ABSOLAR will supply data and strategic information about the solar sector in the country, Apex-Brazil will make initial contacts with investors in Brazil and abroad.

“Foreign direct investment is fundamental not only to develop the solar PV supply chain but also to diversify the country's power mix,” said David Barioni Neto, Apex-Brasil's president.

In a forerunner of the partnership, Apex, ABSOLAR and development bank BNDES in June arranged meetings with investors at the Intersolar Europe event, where more than 90 companies showed interest in investing in Brazil's nascent solar sector.

Brazil has been trying to boost PV power production in the country through government auctions. The first solar tender was held in October 2014 at which 890MW of solar PV were contracted to deliver power under 20-year contracts starting in 2017.

Another two solar auctions are scheduled for August and November this year, for which 12.5GW and 20GW of solar PV projects were registered respectively.

The government wants to attract PV developers and module makers through its local-content programme, which offers cheap financing for locally-assembled panels. 

Although the BNDES has said it is in talks with several PV module makers interested in investing in the country, only two companies have announced firm plans, China's BYD and local start-up Pure Energy.

The country is also revising net-metering rules and planning a new tax-break and financing package to bolster demand for rooftop solar. Brazil has only 600 arrays installed in the country, which has a population of 200 million.

“This is a historic step. The [solar] industry needs this support to improve relations with investors and transform the country's infrastructure só that it can distribute solar power to homes, industries and even to small communities all across the country,” said Nelson Colaferro, president of Absolar's board.

Brazil expects its PV installed capacity to surge from 15MW today to 6.9GW by 2024, mainly through utility-scale plants and another 2.7GW from rooftop arrays.