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  1. Project
20 July 2022

Mendubim Solar PV Power Project, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

The 531MW Mendubim solar PV power project is expected to achieve financial closure by the end of 2022.
The 531MW Mendubim solar project is Scatec’s second project in Brazil. Credit: RenataP / Shutterstock.
Construction of the Mendubim solar project commenced in July 2022. Credit: Scatec ASA.
The Mendubim PV power plant and substation will be connected to the Brazilian electricity grid through a 5.17km-long 230kV transmission line. Credit: Soonthorn Wongsaita / Shutterstock.

The Mendubim solar project is a 531MW photovoltaic (PV) power plant being constructed in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil.

The project is being developed by Scatec in partnership with Hydro Rein and Equinor.

Each company owns a 33.3% interest in the project. The companies are jointly responsible for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the project. Equinor and Scatec will additionally provide asset management as well as operation and maintenance services.

The three companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of a solar power plant in Rio Grande do Norte in December 2020.

The project has received a preliminary environmental permit and construction permit from the Environmental Authority of Rio Grande do Norte (IDEMA). Contracts for the key components of the project are yet to be awarded.

Construction of the solar project commenced in July 2022.

Location

The Mendubim project will be located in the municipality of Assu. The site, which can be reached from the BR-304 federal highway or RN-233 state highway, is currently mostly used for livestock rearing.

Mendubim solar PV power project details

The project involves the design, construction and operation of the PV power plant along with a substation.

A 5.17km-long, 230kV transmission line (TL) will be laid to evacuate the produced electricity and connect it to the Brazilian interconnected grid at the existing Açu III substation.

The project is expected to generate up to 1,200 jobs during the construction phase and involve 25 workers during the operation phase

Financing

The project is estimated to involve a total capital expenditure of $430m. It is planned to be financed through non-recourse debt and equity from partners.

Multilateral investment institution IDB Invest proposed the provision of funding worth $245m for the Mendubim solar power project.

It released an environmental and social review summary of the project in March 2022.

The developers expect to achieve financial closure and receive the first debt tranche by the end of 2022.

Power purchase agreement

About 60% of the solar power produced from the project will be supplied to Alunorte, an alumina refinery located in Barcarena in the state of Para, under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) signed with the developers in July 2022. Alunorte is a subsidiary of Hydro.

The remaining 40% of the electricity will be sold in the Brazilian power market to meet the power requirements of 620,000 households in the country.

Energy consumption and water management

The solar power project is expected to require 24.6kWh a month during the 23-month construction phase and 14kWh a month during the operating phase.

The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the project are estimated to be 159,005t of carbon dioxide (CO₂) equivalent during the construction phase, mainly due to deforestation.

The emissions are expected to be reduced to about 2,200t of CO₂ equivalent in the second year of construction and will drop further during the operational phase to approximately 450t.

The water requirement during the peak construction stage is estimated to be 18.5m³/day, which will be stored in eight water tanks. Furthermore, the project is expected to require 5.44m³ of water for panel cleaning during the operational phase.

A water management plan (WMP) has been prepared to promote the efficient use of water resources.

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