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Brazil’s Eletrosul to Enter Solar Project in 2014 Power Auction

July 2 (Bloomberg) -- Eletrosul Centrais Eletricas SA, a unit of Brazil’s state-controlled power utility known as Eletrobras, next year plans to start seeking contracts to sell power from solar plants it expects to build in coming years.

The company is soliciting bids from companies to install devices to measure solar radiation in two Brazilian states and expects to select a winner at the end of July, Ronaldo dos Santos Custodio, director of engineering and operations at Eletrosul, said today in a telephone interview.

Eletrosul is expanding into solar power so it’s positioned when the technology becomes cheap enough to compete on price with other energy sources, he said. The company plans to enter a solar project in a government-organized power auction next year, he said.

“We’re starting this work now so we’re prepared when the conditions are right,” to build solar projects, he said.

Eletrosul is studying the possibility of building the country’s first “large-scale” solar-thermal plant, which uses sunlight to heat fluid and power turbines, the company said June 20 on its website. The company has to date invested 30 million reais ($13.4 million) in solar-research projects.

The company’s only large solar installation is a 1-megawatt pilot project at its headquarters in Florianopolis, Brazil. The plant will start operating in the second half of the year, and is costing 9 million reais, according to the statement.

Brazil will allow for the first time developers of solar plants to participate in an auction for contracts to sell energy from power plants that’s scheduled for October, Mauricio Tolmasquim, president of the government energy-research agency Empresa de Pesquisa Energetica, told reporters on June 27.

Brazil has 14 solar plants with 2.6 megawatts of total capacity online, Brasilia-based electricity regulator Agencia Nacional de Energia Eletrica, said on its website. Eletrobras, based in Rio de Janeiro, is officially known as Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephan Nielsen in Sao Paulo at snielsen8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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