Voltalia begins production at 260MW Solar Serra do Mel facility in Brazil

Voltalia’s Oiapoque solar farm in Brazil. Credit: Voltalia

French renewable power company Voltalia has started production at four solar projects in its Solar Serra do Mel (SSM) facility in Brazil.

The projects, known as SSM3-6, are part of the company’s Serra Branca cluster in the north-eastern state of Rio Grande do Norte, and have a total capacity of 260MW. Currently, the projects’ operating capacity is just 17MW, but Voltalia expects the remaining capacity to be “gradually commissioned in the coming months”.

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“We are very pleased to announce the commencement of the commissioning of SSM3-6,” said Sébastien Clerc, Voltalia CEO. “This is the result of several years of development and construction work that is bearing its first fruits. I would like to thank the teams that have contributed to this significant milestone.”

Once all of the SSM3-6 projects have started production, Voltalia will operate six producing solar projects in the Serra Branca cluster. The first and second projects of the SSM facility began producing power in 2022, and boast a combined capacity of 320MW, giving the Serra Branca cluster a total solar capacity of 580MW. This is comparable to the 624MW of wind capacity already installed in six separate facilities in the cluster.

Voltalia is also constructing an additional 243MW of new solar in the Serra Branca cluster, alongside a 435MW wind and solar development that is not yet at the construction stage. Combined with 761MW of wind capacity developed and sold by Voltalia, the company plans for its Serra Branca to have a total capacity of 2.4GW of renewable power, and has already started work to integrate this growing capacity with the Brazilian grid.

In 2021, the company started selling power produced by the cluster’s wind farms to Brazilian utility Copel, and recently announced that it would sell the power from its SSM3-6 projects to the utility as part of a 14-year power purchase agreement.

Voltalia’s work aligns closely with the plans of the Brazilian government. In January this year, the country’s ministry of mines and energy, alongside the Agência Nacional de Energia Elétrica, a regulating body, announced that the government plans to add more than 10GW of new renewables capacity by the end of this year.

Earlier this year, US solar tracker manufacturer Nextracker announced plans to implement its products at Atlas’s 902MWp solar plant in Brazil, and Voltalia’s work is the latest example of a foreign solar power company looking to invest in Brazil’s growing renewables sector.

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