Quartz used for making silicon will be supplied from the state of Minas Gerais in the East of Brazil. In future, the company intends to build the entire value-added chain (including production of metallurgical-grade and photovoltaic silicon) inside the country. The technological centre will be part of the project, and Sengi Solar plans to invest BRL 70 mln (USD 13 mln) into its construction. Searching for the opportunities to reduce the panels manufacturing costs will be one of the priority tasks for the Centre: according to the estimates by Sengi Solar, Brazilian solar panels are still 15-20% more expensive vs. their Chinese analogues.
China is the global leader with respect to the solar batteries production unit costs. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the cost of commissioning of 1 KW photovoltaic panels in the PRC in 2020 was USD 650, while in the European Union it was USD 840, and in the USA – USD 1,100. This difference is associated not only with the “green” tariffs (feed-in-tariffs), which until November 2021 guaranteed connection to the grid, purchase of all the generated electricity and the fixed premium above the generation costs; but also, with high accessibility of feedstock for solar panels manufacturing: the PRC is the world biggest produces of silicon, the second biggest – for silver, and the third biggest – for copper, according to the data provided by Statista.
The Sengi Solar project will facilitate the growth solar energy technologies accessibility in Brazil and Latin America in general. The country will remain the regional leaders of photovoltaic panels manufacturing: their installed capacity in Brazil during the period from 2015 to 2021 grew by 13 GW, and in all the other countries of South America – by 18.1 GW, according to Ember Research Centre. Chili and Argentina hold the second and the third position, in these two countries the growth of solar generating capacities during the same period made 3.9 GW and 1.1 GW respectively.