Brazil’s solar association has said that it expects it will reach 2 gigawatts (GW) worth of cumulative solar PV capacity installed by the end of this year, having already hit the 1.1 GW mark and with enough projects in construction this year to hit the target.
In a press release published earlier this month, Brazil’s solar association — Associação Brasileira de Energia Solar Fotovoltaica (ABSOLAR) — highlighted its upcoming Brazil Solar Power conference to be held at the Convention Center South America, in Rio de Janeiro on June 12 and 13. It is the third time the conference has been held and will provide dialogue between solar developers and Brazilian authorities to discuss the current state of global solar PV and Brazil’s future policies.
However, sandwiched in the middle of details about Brazil Solar Power 2018, ABSOLAR revealed that solar in Brazil has already reached a cumulative total of 1.1 GW of installed capacity and that it expects to reach the 2 GW mark by December “with the completion of projects that are under construction.”
We knew that Brazil was doubling down on solar in a big way, considering that just last month the International Renewable Energy Agency published its Renewable Capacity Statistics 2018 which revealed that Brazil had installed 1 GW of solar generation in 2017 — a ten-fold increase from 2016.
According to ABSOLAR’s somewhat bury-the-lead news, Brazil has 320 megawatts (MW) worth of distributed solar generation in total across the country across more than 27,000 units — a sector which saw growth of 270% in 2016, 304% in 2017, and which ABSOLAR expects to increase by 358% in 2018.
This leads to the question, should we be confident in ABSOLAR’s predictions?
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) analyst for Brazil, Helena Chung, yes! Specifically, she told me via email that BNEF was similarly expecting Brazil to install around 1 GW of solar PV this year thanks in part to federal auctions.
“4.6 GW [(DC)] of solar projects has won contracts in five auctions so far, and in 2017, 1.2 GW of the projects commissioned came from auctions,” Chung said.
Looking forward, federal auctions will continue to dictate yearly installation figures.
“There will be a slowdown between 2019-20, as Brazil didn’t hold any auction in a two-year period (2016-17), which impacts future installations in the near-future,” Chung added. “But, due to recent auctions (one in Dec 17, another in April 18), solar installations will likely come back by 2021-22.”
As such, it’s worth looking at recent activity. Brazil recently announced the results of its A-4 power auction which awarded around 1 GW worth of renewable energy capacity including 364 MW to Canadian Solar, one of the world’s leading solar power companies. In total, Brazil awarded a total of 806.6 MW worth of solar power as part of the auction, at an average price of around 118 BRL ($35.2)/MW-hour (MWh) after the country’s energy regulator, ANEEL, had established a maximum price of 312 BRL (US$96.5)/MWh for PV.