Pro-solar candidate Silva out of Brazil national election

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Renowned environmentalist and solar advocate, Marina Silva, is now out of the race to become Brazil's next president, having gained just 21.32% of the vote in the first round of the race.

The Brazilian presidential election is to go to a second round of votes, between Dilma Rousseff and the Aécio Neves. 

The current Brazilian president and Workers’ Party leader, Rousseff, gained 41.59% of the vote, and will contend with Minas Gerias state senator and Brazilian Social Democracy Party leader, Neves who received 33.55% of the vote.

Elected in 2010 to be senator of the state of Minas Gerias, which is holding a solar-only tender auction in November and announced a renewables incentive programme in August, Neves is favoured by businesses and investors, and has told Silva voters to continue to vote for change in the second round of votes, to be held 26 October.

Meanwhile, Rousseff has already served one presidential term, under which national solar-only auctions and local content solar projects, as well as a target for 3.5GW of solar by 2023 have all been approved.

Rousseff was expected to win outright before the unfortunate death of the Brazilian Socialist Party’s first presidential candidate, Eduardo Campos. The renewable energy advocate and governor of the Brazilian state of Pernambuco which hosted Brazil’s first solar-only tender auction died in a plane crash in August.

Silva surged with unexpected popularity, taking Campos’ former role as presidential candidate for the Brazilian Socialist Party, and raised the importance of renewable energy in presidential debates.

However, due to higher electric prices from a recent drought preventing hydro generation, and the use of more expensive fossil fuels, a Brazilian solar push is still likely in the presidential race, regardless of whether Neves is elected or Rousseff re-elected.

“The topic of electricity and energy overall is a very intense debate topic for this election. As a consequence candidates are stating clearly a commitment to PV and renewables,” Rodrigo Lopes Sauaia, executive director of the Brazilian solar association, ABSOLAR, told PV Tech, before the first round of votes yesterday. “For PV and renewables, this election is an opportunity.”

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