Brazil Seeks to Boost Solar Industry to Match Wind, BNDES Says

  • Country has more than 5 gigawatts of installed wind power
  • Brazil development bank ` prioritizing' climate financing

Brazil is seeking to expand its nascent solar industry, replicating the growth in wind energy that’s led to more than 5 gigawatts of installed capacity.

“We can repeat the wind-power success for solar,” Luciano Coutinho, president of Brazil’s development bank, said in an interview Wednesday in London. “We have created economies of scale in the wind industry and we want to do this for solar, repeat the process and develop a supply chain for solar power in Brazil.”

The development bank BNDES has supported about 2 gigawatts to 2.5 gigawatts of wind-power projects a year, Coutinho said. It approved 5 billion reais ($1.3 billion) for wind energy this year. The agency has approved 97.4 billion reais for renewable-energy projects over the past 10 years, including 20 billion reais for wind.

Brazil installed about 10 megawatts of solar capacity in 2014 and is expected to add another about 82 megawatts this year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. It has already contracted more than 2 gigawatts of new solar farms through government energy auctions.

President Dilma Rousseff set a target for Brazil to get as much as 33 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, including electricity and transportation fuels, during a meeting in June with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Renewable Potential

“We have the potential to have 200 gigawatts of renewable energy,” Brazil’s Finance Minister Joaquim Levy said in a presentation in London Wednesday. “But there is a historical responsibility of mature economies in shaping the world we live in,” and that should include “an extension” of the $100 billion a year that rich nations have pledged to channel toward green projects in developing countries.

Development banks from London to Manila have been scaling up their financing for projects aimed at curbing global warming in the run-up to the United Nations conference in Paris at the end of the year. Brazil’s development bank, formally Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico & Social, isn’t setting a specific target, but “we will be prioritizing the support for the attainment of ambitious goals of Brazil, supporting the growth of renewable energy within the Brazilian energy matrix,” Coutinho said.

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