A new green initiative in Brazil, titled Sistema de Energia Renovavel (SER), is planning to install 600MW of solar capacity throughout the country by 2020. SER hopes that within six years the new systems, the first of which is scheduled to come online next year, will provide electricity at prices comparable to rival energy sources.
Despite Brazil’s high irradiance levels, solar accounts for a tiny percentage of the country’s energy portfolio. However, falling equipment prices and increased government support means this is all set to change, and SER is putting itself in position to capitalize. Its first project will have a capacity of 5MW and be located in one of the northeastern states of Bahia, Paraiba, Rio Grande do Norte and Ceara.
“Prices of solar panels have fallen by 50% over the last five years,” said David Fontes Pereira, director of energy at Manserv Montagem e Manutencao, the Brazil-based construction company that owns 50% of the venture. “They're still coming down quicker than any other technology.”
SER is projecting that the systems in its portfolio will generate up to 6.5kWh of electricity per square meter every day. And these figures have already attracted interest in Brazil’s PV potential from further afield. “The Spanish are always impressed by the potential for solar energy in Brazil,” Pereira added. “Our worst areas are much better than the best of theirs.”
One possible panel supplier to emerge is Arizona-based First Solar, which has a partnership with Spainish solar company and SER stakeholder Assyce Fotovoltaica Sociedad.