Brazil’s solar market will register a new milestone with the first unregulated commercial auction of solar power, planned for August 9 by Bioenergy, a Sao Paulo-based renewable energy developer and marketer.

The company already has substantial investments in wind power in the north east region of the country, from which the auctioned power will be generated. Now new solar investments for one to three MW are planned there by Bioenergy, which expects to be generating solar electricity in 2013 and providing auctioned electricity starting in 2014.

Bioenergy cited the new regulations unveiled by federal regulator, Agência Nacional de Energia Eletrica (Aneel) as the key to inspiring the auction. In April, Aneel unveiled initial regulations for small generators – including residential – of solar power, and included a market incentive of tax breaks of up to 80 percent for distribution from plants up to 30 MW.

Technical interconnection terms are to be delivered to Aneel by December, by electricity distributors expected to participate in solar power purchases under the new regulations. Among the details to be revealed are what type of two-way metering will be used.

In June, Aneel concluded a public comment period for comments on rulemaking yet to emerge on rates for purchased power from small generators. Residential vendors of solar power into the grid now have the option of gaining a credit on their next bill for the delivered power.

In the meantime, new solar project awards have continued to emerge, like the contract won by Portuguese company Efacec last week for the installation of a one MW project at the headquarters of utility Eletrosul, in Florianopolis, Santa Catarina. Other competing bidders included Kyocera, Cymi and Elecnor. The project is expected to come on line within eight months.

Meanwhile, a smaller demonstration project is currently being constructed on the roof of the Rio de Janeiro state public library, in Rio de Janeiro, by Metasolar, based in the same city. Panels for the project are being supplied by LG. Director of LG’s Brazilian subsidiary, Alexandre Borin has been cited by the country’s press as saying that Brazil could have project commitments for new solar capacity of up to 30 MW by the end of this year, or 2013.

More installations in Brazil are expected, due to the drop in photovoltaic module prices. Donauer Solar’s Brazilian subsidiary, based in Lauro de Freitas, recently gained approval from federal technology regulator, Instituto Nacional de Metrologia, Normalização e Qualidade Industrial (Inmetro) for the importation of Chinese-made photovoltaic modules from CNPV Solar Power, based in Luxembourg.

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