SunEdison, a leading global solar energy services provider and subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE: WFR) has signed an agreement with Petrobras to build one of the largest solar photovoltaic power plants in Brazil. The plant will be located in Alto do Rodrigues, Rio Grande do Norte. Once completed, the SunEdison Renewable Operations Center will manage the ongoing operations of the plant. The energy generated will be destined to the National Interconnected System (SIN).
The plant will have an installed capacity of 1,1 MW DC (megawatt) and will be built on land adjacent to the Thermoeletric Plant Jesus Soares Pereira that belongs to Termoacu S.A, which major stakeholder is Petrobras. The plant is expected to generate 1,65 GWh per year, avoiding the emission of 380 tons of carbon (foundation: generation by natural gas).
The construction of the plant is part of an initiative lead by Petrobras within the structure of the Research and Development Program of the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency (ANEEL).
This project also includes the construction of a 10 kW experimental platform, (a model plant) at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN) Department of Electrical Engineering's Laboratory of Power Electronics and Renewable Energy, and counts with partnership of the Center for Gas Technology and Renewable Energy (CTGas-ER) located in Natal (RN).
The expansion of the network of laboratories will aid testing and certification of equipment, increase availability of public data on solar photovoltaic energy generation, as well as improve the quality of training of technical and higher-level professionals dedicated to this field.
Commenting on the agreement, Pancho Perez, SunEdison General Manager for EMEA, Latin America and North Asia, said: "We are pleased to collaborate with Petrobras, the leading energy company in Brazil, in this ambitious R&D project from ANEEL that aims to facilitate solar energy development and PV industry growth in Brazil. This agreement is a demonstration of our commitment to the Brazilian market. We look forward to working with Petrobras and helping to diversify the energy mix in Brazil."
Approximately, 50 people will work on the construction of the plant, which is expected to begin operations at the end of this year. The plant will be built with technology from SunEdison 3.672 Silvantis™ photovoltaic (PV) solar modules and will be installed, using A90 solar trackers designed by SunEdison.
SunEdison ranked as one of the leading solar power providers in 2012. As of December 2012, the company has interconnected 989 MW of solar energy around the world, and has the unique combination of upstream product innovation, project development and ongoing asset management and services. SunEdison has been operating in Latin America since 2010 with offices in Chile, Brazil and Mexico.