Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) — SunEdison Inc., a U.S. developer and
polysilicon supplier, is expanding in Brazil where demand for
renewable power is expected to be a key driver of growth.
SunEdison will invest $30 million in a panel factory in
Brazil and has agreed to build solar power plants with local
renewable energy developer Renova Energia SA, Jose Perez, the
company’s president for Latin America, said today.
“Brazil, together with Mexico, will drive a significant
part of the company’s growth,” Perez said at a press conference
in Sao Paulo. “Renewable energy will be responsible for 60
percent of total new generation in Latin America in the coming
years and we want to satisfy these countries’ growing demand.”
Brazil gets less than 1 percent of its electricity from
solar power and has almost no domestic photovoltaic production.
The government has set a goal of 3.5 gigawatts of solar capacity
in operation by 2023, producing about 1.8 percent of the
In a joint venture announced today, Maryland Heights,
Missouri-based SunEdison and Renova Energia will initially
develop and operate four solar power plants with a total
installed capacity of 106.9 megawatts in Bahia state by 2017.
The goal is to invest around 5 billion reais ($ 1.9 billion) to
build projects with 1 gigawatt of capacity in the next five
years. About 65 percent will be financed by banks with the rest
split equally between the two companies.
Renova was among the winners in Brazil’s first power
auction for photovoltaic projects on Oct. 31 when the Sao Paulo-based company won contracts for the four plants. It will take
about 500 million reais to develop the projects.
“We have been talking since 2012 about solar development
in Brazil,” Renova’s President Mathias Becker said today at a
press conference in Sao Paulo.
SunEdison will also invest $30 million in facilities to
make photovoltaic modules and tracking systems in Brazil with a
capacity of 140 megawatts a year. It’s expected to be in
operation by 2016. The company’s first Latin American solar
plant in Mexico can produce 400 megawatts a year.
“The company’s objective is to be competitive to sell
energy in Brazil and the factory is the way we will do it,”
Luis Pita, SunEdison’s general director for Brazil, said in an
To spur domestic solar manufacturing capacity, Brazil’s
BNDES development bank is offering low-cost financing.
Initially, developers can use imported photovoltaic cells. From
2020 on, local content rules will require them to use components
produced in Brazil.
SunEdison would join Tecnometal Equipamentos Ltda, which
has a solar module plant in Campinas, Brazil and Brasil Solair,
which is building a 10-megawatt site.
“SunEdison’s initiative can be an incentive to other
companies to come to Brazil,” said Helena Chung, a Sao Paulo-based analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Earlier this month, SunEdison and its power plant holding
company, TerraForm Power Inc., agreed to buy First Wind Holdings
Inc. for $2.4 billion.
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Vanessa Dezem in Sao Paulo at
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Reed Landberg at
Jim Efstathiou Jr., Carlos Caminada