German consortium evaluating major PV manufacturing hub in Brazil

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An ad hoc consortium of three German research institutes and the south-western German industry association, Solar Cluster, are undertaking a detailed feasibility study for the establishment of a fully integrated PV manufacturing facility on behalf of ITAIPU, a Brazilian-Paraguayan power company, and FIEP, an industry association.

The feasibility study includes the construction of a 10,000MT polysilicon plant and integrated wafer, cell and module production capacity of 680MW. 

Significantly, the location being evaluated for the project is Paraná, near the 14GW Itaipu hydropower plant. This would potentially provided the lowest cost electricity source in particular for the polysilicon plant, but also reduce carbon emissions from the manufacturing of the PV modules.

The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) has been tasked with determining the technical and economic feasibility of the project. ZSW experts are expected to analyse the regional market as well as the global PV market. Then the team will investigate how this project would affect employment and value creation in the region.

“ZSW's studies, analyses and actionable recommendations are a big help to the policymakers who are shaping Germany's exit from nuclear power and fossil fuels. We will be delighted if our efforts contribute to a more eco-friendly power supply in Brazil,” said Andreas Püttner, an economist and member of ZSW's Systems Analysis team.

The study by ZSW would also examine the infrastructure, local supply chains and possible effects on the environment. The study is expected to be completed in around six months with ZSW partnering with the two Fraunhofer Institut divisions, ISE and IPA, to accomplish the study.

Solar Cluster managing director, Carsten Tschamber, added: “The study and its analyses will help businesses and policymakers in Brazil make informed decisions and drive the development of renewable power sources.” 

Brazil has just undertaken its first dedicated PV power plant auction allocating around 1GW of capacity to be connected to the grid in 2017. A local content requirement for solar is expected be ramped up over the coming years in Brazil, offer project developers more favourable financing if they use equipment produced in the country.

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