• `There is still too much uncertainty and currency risks'
  • JinkoSolar won order to supply 30-megawatt solar project

JinkoSolar Holding Co., a Chinese solar manufacturer, is shelving plans to build a panel plant in Brazil as the currency slumps and the local economy languishes.

JinkoSolar imported 11 megawatts of panels for an Enel SpA solar farm in Pernambuco state and won an order to supply a 30-megawatt plant that won a contract in the last energy auction on Aug 28. Building a factory would help the company continue to expand in Brazil, which has local content rules that encourage developers to use components sourced from local suppliers.

The real has declined more than 60 percent since Oct. 31, when more than a gigawatt of solar farms won contracts in the country’s first-ever national solar auction. That prompted Shangrao, China-based JinkoSolar to delay its manufacturing plans.

“Our strategy at Jinko has been proven to be successful by localizing production in key markets,” Arturo Herrero, the company’s head of emerging markets., said in an e-mail Thursday. “In Brazil, however, there is still too much uncertainty and currency risks that made us decide to postpone our decision.”

Local Content Rules

Under Brazil’s local-content policies, the country’s development bank BNDES offers cheap loans for solar projects that use components produced domestically. It’s seeking to create a solar manufacturing industry, and the agency used the same strategy to spur local production of wind turbines.

Supernova Energia SA agreed to use imported JinkoSolar panels for its 30-megawatt Assurua project, in Bahia state, according to Miguel Hidalgo, project manager for Sistemas de Energia Renovavel SA, the Brazilian developer that sold the solar farm to Supernova.

JinkoSolar has five productions facilities in China, Malaysia, Portugal and South Africa.

“We see Brazil as very promising market for solar energy, for both utility scale and distributed generation segments,” Alberto Cuter, JinkoSolar’s general manager for Latin America and Italy, said in an e-mail.

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