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Brazil's Distributed Generation – On Everyone's Radar

published: 2016-05-24 10:50

Distributed generation connections grew by 308% in Brazil in 2015. This is according to the National Electric Energy Agency (ANEEL), Brazil’s top energy regulator, and these figures include micro-generation and mini-generation. The state of Minas Gerais has the most micro- and mini-generation systems with 333 connections, followed by Rio de Janeiro (203) and Rio Grande do Sul (186).

Brazil doubled its solar targets for both utility-scale and distributed generation in January. The 2024 target under the official 10-year energy plan (PDE) is for 7 GW of utility-scale solar and 1.32 GW of distributed PV installations. According to the Latin America PV Playbook of GTM Research, 1.4 GW of distributed PV could be achieved as early as 2020, especially given strong support for the segment in Brazil through the ProGD policy.

ProGD is a distributed generation development program for energy. It was launched by Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) and is aimed at encouraging even more consumers to generate their own power from renewable energy sources, with a particular emphasis on solar energy.

According to the MME, by 2030 roughly 2.7 million Brazilian consumers could have distributed generation installations either on private residences, in industrial setups or in the agricultural sector. This would be the equivalent of 23.5GW of clean energy production.

The National Energy Plan running until 2050 predicts that 18% of Brazilian homes will host PV systems by 2050. These installations are expected to generate around 45 terawatt-hours of energy and this would meet 13% of the country’s electricity demand.

Distributed generation (DG) could trigger investments worth more than BRL100 billion (US$25.6 billion) by 2030, according to the MME. Against this backdrop, DG is expected to become an attractive investment for homeowners, as well as manufacturers of PV modules and inverters. All of these stakeholders will be meeting at Intersolar South America in Sao Paulo in August, at the largest solar event in Latin America.

DG is a key feature of the Intersolar South America conference as well as the exhibition. On the first day of the event the conference will include talks from key stakeholders from the private and public sector. The primary topics of discussion will include the pros and cons of a regulated and an unregulated market as well as the main obstacles facing the Brazilian net-metering program, which includes taxation, grid connection procedures, and financing.

The number of newly installed DG plants in Brazil has reached record levels in recent years. This has mainly been driven by rising electricity prices, decreasing technology costs, and the new regulatory framework. The opportunities this has created have attracted a large number of new players to the market. This will also be addressed in a special session on financing DG, which will take place on Thursday, August 25. This session will focus on key challenges, given the scarcity of competitive or low-cost financing.

And who will install all the planned rooftop PV facilities? To examine this issue and explore the future potential of this important aspect of technology development, there will be technical workshops for installation experts in parallel to the main exhibition and conference.


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