SunEdison Announces Expansion Plans In Brazil

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SunEdison has been on a roll for quite some time now, announcing one plan after another in virtually all solar markets. It has also announced a possible polysilicon plant in Korea.

Sun rising on Christ the Redeemer at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Image Credit: Charlie Phillips (CC 2.0)

SunEdison and Brazil-based Renova Energia have come together for a joint venture to build, own, and operate 1 gigawatt (GW) capacity of utility-scale PV, which will supply power to the Brazilian regulated electricity market. Both the companies will share a 50–50 stake in the JV. The venture will come up with four utility-scale solar power plants in Bahia State (Brazil) by 2017.

Renova is the largest renewable power generation company in Brazil (by installed capacity). It was among the winners in Brazil’s first auction for PV projects and won contracts for 107 MW capacity.

SunEdison will invest another $30 million in a 140 MW per year solar panel factory in Brazil, which is expected to start operations by 2016. The factory will make PV modules and tracking systems, possibly with a focus on the Brazilian domestic market.

About a month back, Brazil entered the solar sector after releasing contracts totalling 1048 MW spread over 31 solar parks. The country has set for itself a target of 3.5 GW of solar capacity in operation by 2023, producing about 1.8% of the country’s energy.

Brazil is also said to have big plans to start local manufacturing of solar components. Initially, developers have been allowed to import, but from 2020 onwards local content rules will require them to use components produced in Brazil. As of now, solar panels and other equipment which need to be imported are rendered quite expensive due to high import duties.

“The company’s objective is to be competitive to sell energy in Brazil and the factory is the way we will do it,” Luis Pita, SunEdison’s general director for Brazil, said in an interview.

With its current announcements, SunEdison will be looking to join Tecnometal Equipamentos, which has a solar module plant in Campinas, Brazil, and Brasil Solair, which is building a 10-megawatt site.

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Anand Upadhyay

is a Fellow with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI, New Delhi). He tweets at @indiasolarpost. Views and opinion if any, are his own.

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