BNDES - Brazilian Development Bank

BNDES approves first financing for generation of solar power in the amount of R$ 529,039 million


  • Pirapora Solar Complex in Minas Gerais will have five power plants with installed capacity of 150 MW
  • The project belongs to the French generator EDF and to Canadian Solar

The Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) has approved financing of R$ 529,039 for implementation of the Pirapora Solar Complex in Minas Gerais with five photovoltaic power plants and total installed capacity of 150 megawatts (MW) and installed photovoltaic capacity of 191 megawatts peak (MWp). The project belongs to EDF Energies Nouvelles, an affiliate of the French state group Électricité de France S.A. (EDF) and Canadian Solar (CSI), manufacturer of solar modules installed in Brazil and who will provide equipment to the project.

The Pirapora Solar Complex is the first solar power generation project financed by BNDES. According to the President of BNDES, Maria Silvia Bastos Marques, in accordance with her role of inductor of the economic development, in particular of projects with positive externalities – in this case the environmental –, the Bank allocates the best terms of credit to renewable energy projects.

Brazil offers broad space and solar irradiation intensity greater than several countries that create expressive potential for solar generation. As the sector is in the early stages of technological diffusion, it needs to incorporate advances in reducing costs and prices as well as in earned revenue. For this, the promotion instruments of the demand were relevant to mobilize the insertion of the source in Brazil, either through the distributed generation, or through centralized generation, which is being contracted in public auctions. In this sense the Bank’s support is crucial for the sector.

The project will be formed by five Photovoltaic Power Plants (UFV) – Pirapora V, VI, VII, IX and X – with installed capacity of 30 MW each and associated transmission system. The project will increase the supply of electric power from a renewable source, meeting the demand equivalent to 189,842 residences. The construction of the facilities will generate 1,381 direct and indirect jobs.

Terms of credit – BNDES’ participation in the investment of Pirapora Solar Complex will be R$ 529 million with funding entirely from TJLP (Brazilian long-term interest rate). Considering the amount of issuance of encouraged infrastructure debentures worth up to R$ 220 million, the total project leverage will reach 79.6% of total investments expected.

In financing approved by the Bank the subcredit is included, in the amount of R$ 2.6 million, destined for social investments within the community in projects different from those provided for in the environmental licensing.

Reserve energy – The energy of the Pirapora Solar Complex was marketed in the Regulated Contracting Environment (ACR) during the 7th Reserve Energy Auction held on August 28, 2015. The Reserve Energy Contracting (CER) closed with the Electric Energy Trading Chamber (CCEE) has duration of 20 years after August 1, 2017, date scheduled to commence operations. The power plants sold a total of 42 MW (8.4 MW each), at an average rate of R$ 298.58/MWh.

The works of the Pirapora Solar Complex were initiated in October 2016 and is expected to start operating in August 2017.

Equipment manufactured in São Paulo – the Pirapora Solar Complex is located in a flat area of 400 hectares close to the São Francisco River in the municipality of Pirapora, interior of the state of Minas Gerais.

For the EDF Energies Nouvelles the financing approval of BNDES’ first photovoltaic project is an important milestone for the development of solar power in Brazil. “With the experience and expertise in solar power companies, such as Canadian Solar and EDF Energies Nouvelles, and now the financial support from BNDES, the Pirapora project will become one of the largest projects of Latin America. We are very happy to contribute, through the Pirapora project, for the establishment of the photovoltaic industry in the country and to pave the way for other projects,” says Paulo Abranches, Director of EDF EN of Brazil.

Partner of the project, Canadian Solar, in partnership with Flextronics, will be responsible for the supply of photovoltaic panels of the Pirapora Solar Complex. Canadian Solar will provide 594,750 modules consisting of 72 cells each, from a newly inaugurated factory in Sorocaba (SP). The power plants will share the same elevating substation and a 10.37 km transmission line of 138 kV, which will link the parks to the Pirapora transmitting substation.

For Canadian Solar, BNDES financing for the Pirapora project demonstrates its full support and commitment and of the Brazilian Government in supporting companies with long-term investment in the development of infrastructure solar power projects in Brazil.

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