Royal Dutch Shell PLC is prepared to start negotiating with potential customers on the sale of future solar power in the free energy market of Brazil from its first solar power farms due to start running in 2023, Shell’s solar business development manager for Latin America said, Maria Gabriela da Rocha, said. In a recent telephone interview, the development manager said the startup date would depend on the negotiations and was part of Shell’s strategy to move into renewable energy, betting on industries’ increasingly having the desire to sign long-term clean energy contracts. The manager also noted that Shell’s solar projects are in an advanced stage of development, specifically in Minas Gerais state.
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The first project that has already been registered with Brazil’s electricity regulator, ANEEL, is a 130MW solar power farm constructed in Brasilandia. It is about 500 km from the city of Belo Horizonte, at an estimated cost of US$102 million. Rocha stated that a large number of companies seeking clean energy contracts were multinational firms with which Shell could negotiate internationally. Shell’s top goal, however, is bringing up solar projects from scratch, from the selection of locations to the measuring of sun radiation.
The executive said Shell was aiming to be a big player in the Brazilian renewable energy market and had not eliminated acquisitions in the solar sector, including opportunities that might come about from the crisis brought by the coronavirus pandemic. Just recently, U.S.-engineered products and infrastructure development company Valmont Industries Inc. acquired a majority stake in Brazil solar power developer Solbras and became the largest shareholder of Brazilian PV company Solbras, a competitor for Royal Dutch Shell PLC. Valmont said Solbras will be rebranded ‘Valley’ and plans to expand its Brazilian PV offering into agri-business in particular, as well as other sectors of the economy.