MPX expands solar ambitions

Friday, March 9, 2012

Brazil's MPX says the prospect of new government incentives could prompt an expansion of the company's solar energy portfolio.

The company already has requested permission from Ceará state's environmental regulator Semace to increase capacity of its 10mn-real (US$6.2mn) Tauá solar plant to 50MW from 1MW. Plans are underway to expand the plant's capacity to 2MW by midyear.

MPX told BNamericas a proposed government incentive fund would encourage further investments in the fledgling sector.

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"It's an interesting proposal in the final phase of being structured," said company operations director Markus Temke.

"It's essential that these projects receive support and that solar energy is seen as an attractive option to investors. We want to continue expanding the potential Brazil has for generating solar energy."

The Ceará government confirmed to BNamericas plans were underway for a solar energy compensation scheme (FIES), but declined to give details.

Tauá became the first solar plant to be connected to Brazil's national grid in August last year, and produced 808MWh in the first six months of operation.

Temke conceded output was likely to fall in the coming months due to reduced winter sunlight hours.

"The tendency is that generation decreases but the city has one of the highest solar radiation indexes in Brazil.

"We expect Tauá's production will remain satisfactory compared to the world average."

MPX is a subsidiary of Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista's EBX group.