Norwegian renewables developer Scatec, Hydro Rein and Equinor have begun commercial operations at the 531MW Mendubim solar plant in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil.

This marks Scatec’s second venture in the country.

The solar plant contains several projects and is supported by a 20-year PPA with Alunorte, an alumina supplier predominantly owned by Hydro.

The PPA guarantees the purchase of 60% of the plant’s expected power production, with the remaining output to be sold within the Brazilian power market.

Each partner owns a 30% stake in the project. With the initiation of commercial operations, Alunorte has exercised its call option to acquire the remaining 10% interest in the project.

Scatec CEO Terje Pilskog stated: “The Mendubim solar power plant marks a pivotal milestone in realising our strategic objectives and reinforces our position in a prominent renewable energy growth market, bolstered by our partners Equinor and Hydro Rein.

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“The burgeoning solar energy market in Brazil aligns with our commitment to sustainable progress, and we are excited to advance this impactful project with approximately three million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents avoided.”

The operational milestone enhances Equinor’s equity power production in Brazil by around 30%, projected to exceed 1.4 terawatt-hours in 2024.

The Mendubim project also marks the Norwegian oil and gas producer’s first entry into Brazil’s deregulated power market, expanding its footprint in the region’s energy sector.

Equinor renewables onshore and markets senior vice-president Olav Kolbeinstveit stated: “Launching a major new solar plant in Brazil in partnership with Scatec and Hydro Rein is an important achievement. Equinor has conducted business in Brazil for over two decades, and we see the country as a core area for long-term profitable growth.

“By investing in renewable energy, we are supporting Brazil’s ambitions towards a diverse energy mix and helping to meet the expected power demand growth in the country.”

Equinor confirmed its final investment decision on the Mendubim solar plant in December 2022.

Scatec and Equinor will provide comprehensive asset management and operation and maintenance services to ensure the efficient running of the solar facility.