Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) has introduced a new solar PV target of 7GW of installed capacity by 2024, almost doubling its previous target.

Rodrigo Sauaia, executive director of the Brazilian Association of Photovoltaic Solar Energy (Absolar) told PV Tech that the previous target was “relatively conservative” and has been revised upwards after the successful results in contracting PV projects last year and the successful solar auction this year. In December 2014, the MME had announced an aim for just 3.5GW of solar by 2023.

Referring to the doubling of the target, Sauaia added: “We believe this is a very important step forward in giving the right signals to the market of the commitment and interest of the government on developing a solar PV value chain and bringing the market to the country.”

The country’s previous expectation was to contract around 500MW of PV annually, but after discussions with the sector, a stronger signal has been put out by the government to help bring the value chain into Brazil. Sauaia said the aim is to help justify investments in bringing module assembly lines and solar cell manufacturing to the country as well as making PV projects more affordable.

Sauaia added that three key areas of demand, financing and industrial policy need to be developed for the government to reach its goal. For example Absolar recently claimed that Brazil must establish a “specific industrial policy” for domestic PV manufacturing so it can produce the 2GW of solar equipment necessary to operate 61 solar plants planned for 2017.

In related news, Brazil’s energy regulator EPE also forecast that around 1.3GW of small-scale distributed generation PV will be installed in Brazil by 2024.

Sauaia said this marks a significant growth from the current 10MW of distributed generation capacity, but added: “Absolar considers this to be a little bit of a conservative target. We believe it will be possible with the right policies in place to bring on board roughly one million PV systems by 2025 (one year later). With that we will be able to include into the matrix about 2.5GW of small-scale distributed PV capacity online.”

However, Sauaia said the distributed generation market is not so much in the hands of the government, because it relies more heavily on electricity prices, exchange rates for equipment and components, and taxation. States and municipalites can also create their own programmes to support this technology, making it even harder for the government to predict distributed generation growth.

Meanwhile, Brazilian renewable energy research company Instituto Ideal also announced its findings that the cost of distributed generation PV projects dropped by 6.5% in Brazil in 2014. Sauaia commented that prices internationally have dropped by around 5-6% per year so the Instituto Ideal findings reveal that Brazil is following the international trend of PV costs declining.

He added: “Nevertheless several of the projects for distributed generation are still relying on imported goods and components and, as a consequence of that, the segment price and competitiveness is still a bit exposed to exchange rate fluctuations.”