The 531 MW Mendubim photovoltaic plant inaugurated in Brazil

The Mendubim Solar Complex, the largest photovoltaic project in Rio Grande do Norte, was inaugurated in the municipality of Assu. With investments of R$ 2.1 billion, the project has 531 MW of installed power.

The complex consists of 13 floors and occupies an area of 1,200 hectares, the equivalent of 1,200 football fields. Construction began in July 2022 and, at the height of the work, more than 1,600 workers worked simultaneously.

In total, there are 974,000 545 W modules from Canadian Solar, 2,560 Huawei inverters and around 11,000 Nextracker trackers, as well as step-up transformers. The complex also has 83 power plants distributed in 31 medium voltage circuits.

The electrocenters were connected to a booster substation, composed of two power transformers of 280 MVA each, where the operating voltage was raised to 230 thousand Volts, for transmission purposes.

The solar panels are installed on trackers whose stakes measure almost 3 meters long, of which 1.60 meters are below ground level.

The complex is complemented by 54 kilometers of drainage structures spread throughout the land to drain rainwater, which reaches an average of about 120 mm between January and May.

The event was attended by the directors of the four partner companies of the project, all with capital of Norwegian origin – Scatec, Equinor, Hydro Hein and Alunorte –, as well as representatives of the three spheres of government – federal, state and municipal. – and the Norwegian government.

“What we celebrate here today is a very important milestone not only for Rio Grande do Norte, the Northeast or Brazil, but for the world,” said Fátima Bezerra, governor of Rio Grande do Norte.

The Consul General of Norway, Mette Tangen, also highlighted the partnership between the country and Brazil. “Brazil is very important for Norway in the energy transition. Being here today fills me with pride because it shows that we are walking alongside Brazil in building a more sustainable future for the planet and for future generations,” she highlighted.

“This solar complex, in the middle of the semi-arid northeast, is Scatec’s second project in the country. Brazil is a key market for us and has immense growth potential in renewable energy,” said Terje Pilskog, global CEO of Scatec.

Aleksander Skaare, country manager of Scatec in Brazil, highlighted that the country is not only well positioned as a producer, but also due to the qualifications of its workforce specialized in the renewable energy sector.

“The country has immense growth potential in renewable energy. It already leads, by far, this sector in Latin America, and is one of the main international players in this market. “We want to be part of this,” he stressed.

The project, located just over 200 kilometers from Natal, extends over a perimeter of 38 kilometers. The first commercial operations began in February of this year, with Mendubins 11 and 9 and, sequentially, the others were activated, until the last date for the start of commercial operations, in March 2024.

The site is 6 kilometers from the Assu 3 substation, which connects to the SIN (National Interconnected System) and the area, considered excellent for solar energy generation, has a maximum slope of 5%.

The shareholding composition of the project initially included three partners: Scatec, Hydro and Equinor, who would have equal shares in the project. However, since the beginning of March, Alunorte has acquired 10% of the project and has committed to purchasing 60% of the energy produced.

The company signed a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) – energy purchase term – for twenty years. As a result, the composition was divided into 30% for each of the initial partners (Scatec, Equinor and Hydro Rein) and 10% for Alunorte.
female participation

Throughout its construction, Mendubim selected and trained 240 women without professional training to work in the area of renewable energy, 120 of whom were trained to assemble solar panels and 120 to work in other diverse careers.

The initiative was promoted in collaboration with ITEC (Brazilian Institute of Technology). This effort is added to other initiatives that allowed the company to reach 30% of women in operational and equipment maintenance activities. In Brazil, across the board, female participation in Scatec is 39% of the workforce.