A 475 megawatt (MW) section of what is being described by energy firm the Enel Group as South America’s “largest” solar photovoltaic (PV) facility has started operations.
In an announcement Monday, the Enel Group said the 475 MW chunk of the Sao Goncalo solar PV plant, in the northeast of Brazil, had been connected to the grid and would be able to produce more than 1,200 gigawatt hours annually when “fully up and running.”
Photovoltaic refers to a way of directly converting light from the sun into electricity.
Work on an additional 133 MW section of the project began last August and will bring Sao Goncalo’s total capacity to 608 MW when finished. At full output, the whole plant will eventually be able to prevent the emission of more than 860,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year, according to Enel.
There is currently a debate taking place in Brazil on the topic of solar power and how to price it.
Brazilian power regulator, Aneel, has previously said it was thinking of cutting incentives related to solar power but last week Reuters reported that President Jair Bolsonaro had “ruled out” a solar tax.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), renewables meet nearly 45% of “primary energy demand” in Brazil. The IEA states that “large hydropower plants” are responsible for roughly 80% of domestic electricity production.
Last October, the agency said that, worldwide, renewable power capacity was forecast to increase by 50% between 2019 and 2024, with solar photovoltaics due to make up nearly 60% of the expected rise.