Teresina and Vitória lead in the Comerc Solar Index

By cave-admin 07/01/2020

Teresina is the Brazilian capital with the most attractive payback period for residential solar projects (low voltage) under the current rules. An investment in the capital of Piaui gets paid back in only 2.85 years. For small businesses and industries (medium voltage), Vitória stands out with only 4.75 years’ payback.

In the residential ranking, Teresina climbed from 2nd to 1st place since April, leaving behind Belém (2.92 years) and Greater Rio de Janeiro (2.93).

Brasilia shines in residential projects, rising from 18th to 13th, while Porto Velho climbed four rungs in the ranking (from 22nd to 18th). In contrast, the capitals of the states of Bahia (Salvador) and Ceará (Fortaleza) fell three positions.

Comerc Director Marcel Haratz explains that among the three factors analyzed in the Comerc Solar Index – solar insolation, cost of photovoltaic equipment and energy tariff fluctuation, it is the tariff that has the greatest impact on payback. “The higher the tariff, the more it pays to invest in solar energy. If we consider residential projects, for example, we can say the rate of return on solar panels is excellent – much better than many financial investments,” says the executive.

Haratz points out that even in the worst scenarios, such as the cases of São Paulo and Curitiba, it still pays to invest in solar projects – solar panels have a useful life of approximately 20 years and are paid back after the first five years.

Medium Voltage – Retail and Small-Scale Industries

Jumping ahead four positions in the ranking, Vitória left the 5th position in the April Comerc Index to take the lead in solar energy projects for businesses and small industries in the November index. The capital of the state of Espírito Santo left behind the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro and Manaus, tied with 4.81 years’ payback.

The negative highlights in small businesses and industries were Goiânia and Brasília — both lost more than half a year in their respective paybacks. The capital of Goiás plummeted from second to seventh, while Brasilia fell from fourth to tenth between April and November.

Threat to solar project attractiveness

Changes to the solar credit compensation system as proposed by the National Electric Energy Agency may raise taxation for individuals producing their own energy. The Aneel proposal is under public consultation until the end of December, but is expected to directly impact the rate of return for solar projects.

The final format of Aneel proposal is yet undefined since there are different possibilities. The worst-case scenario –- fully eliminating the current credit to offset the TUSD charge and other components of the energy tariff – could result in a rate of return that is 188 % worse than today. Take the example of the city of Macapá, where current payback of 3.90 years could rise to a staggering 11.26 years under a possible Aneel proposal.

“Another negative impact: with the current model, today we have a competitive scenario, where the payback in almost all Brazilian capitals is 3 to 5 years. The new Aneel proposal may lead to payback periods as high as 9 or 10 years, or even more,” explains Marcel Haratz.

Something similar, yet less dramatic, could also happen in medium voltage.  Payback may increase by as much as 66% in the case of Macapá.

The Solar Comerc Index: methodology

The payback period of a solar energy project is a snapshot of the current Brazilian scenario based on the analysis made by the Comerc ESCO team. The study considers:

  • Current tariffs: Class B3 for Low Voltage and Class A4 for Medium Voltage;
  • Average invested amount and investments and costs that are avoided by using the photovoltaic system for each utility company;
  • Power generation is estimated under ideal installation conditions, including slope angle, orientation and absence of shading.

Any changes in tariffs charged by the respective utility companies will directly impact the results found in the Index.

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