The Enel Group’s Brazilian renewable energy subsidiary Enel Green Power Brasil Participações Ltda. (“EGPB”) has started commercial operations of the 133 MW expansion of the already up and running 475 MW São Gonçalo solar PV plant, which is South America’s largest PV facility, located in the municipality of São Gonçalo do Gurguéia, in Brazil’s northeastern state of Piauí. The construction of the 133 MW section involved an investment of around 422 million Brazilian reais, equivalent to approximately 100 million euros.
“Bringing online the first expansion of our record-breaking São Gonçalo solar park is a major step forward for Enel in Brazil, strengthening our position as leaders in the country’s solar generation market,” said Salvatore Bernabei, CEO of Enel Green Power and Head of Enel’s Global Power Generation business line. “Despite the challenges imposed by the current scenario, we recently started construction of 1.3 GW of renewable capacity in Brazil, which includes a new 256 MW section of the São Gonçalo solar park. We remain committed to further contributing to the country’s growing electricity sector and leading the green recovery in Brazil as we have been doing worldwide.”
In August 2019, Enel announced the start of construction of the 133 MW extension of the solar park, which is now up and running. Prior to that, the construction of São Gonçalo’s first 475 MW section started in October 2018 and was connected to the grid in January 2020.
The new 256 MW expansion, which started construction in 2020, is expected to start operations in 2021 and brings the overall capacity of São Gonçalo to 864 MW, making it Enel’s largest power generation facility under construction worldwide. The Enel Group is investing around 735 million Brazilian reais, equivalent to approximately 142 million US dollars, in the construction of the third section of the plant.
The entire 864 MW São Gonçalo solar park will be comprised of more than 2.2 million solar panels and, once fully up and running, will be capable of generating more than 2.2 TWh annually, avoiding the emission of over 1.2 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. São Gonçalo is Enel’s first plant in Brazil to use bifacial solar modules that capture solar energy from both sides of the panel, with an expected increase in power generation of up to 18%.
Out of São Gonçalo’s overall installed capacity:
- 599 MW, including the 256 MW from the third section, the 133 MW from the second section and a 210 MW portion from the first section, are supported by power supply contracts negotiated with corporate customers in the Brazilian free energy market;
- The other 265 MW from the first section are supported by 20-year power supply contracts with a pool of distribution companies operating in the country’s regulated market.
During the construction of the facility, rigorous safety protocols were implemented, in light of the ongoing pandemic and in line with the indications provided by health authorities, with the aim to ensure the necessary protection to the workers involved in the construction as well as to the communities where the park is installed. The company established strict guidelines for travel, which include preventive quarantine when workers move to cities outside the construction site region, increased sanitization of facilities, vehicles and environments on construction sites, as well as measures to ensure safe work practices. On the construction site, the teams and operations were structured to maintain social distancing. Enel also carried out testing campaigns involving all employees working on the construction sites.
In Brazil, the Enel Group, through its subsidiaries EGPB and Enel Brasil, has a total renewable installed capacity of over 3.4 GW, of which 1,210 MW are wind, 979 MW solar and 1,269 MW hydroelectric.
Enel is a multinational power company and a leading integrated player in the global power, gas, and renewables markets. It is the largest European utility by ordinary EBITDA, and is present in over 30 countries worldwide, producing energy with over 87 GW of installed capacity. Enel distributes electricity through a network of over 2.2 million kilometers, and with more than 74 million business and household end users globally, the Group has the largest global customer base among its European peers. Enel’s renewables arm Enel Green Power is the world’s largest renewable private player, with over 47 GW of wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower plants installed in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.