Brazil is just beginning to develop a solar industry, and one little company eager to get in at the start of the boom bought equipment from Spire Corporation to launch a new 20-megawatt solar photovoltaic manufacturing facility in Sao Paulo.
Tecnometal Equipamentos, the new solar panel plant, could create up to 100 new jobs in San Paulo, said Roger Little, CEO of Spire.
“There’s not much going on yet in Brazil,” Little said about the solar industry there. “But Brazil is starting to look at a lot of new incentives.”
The man who owns Tecnometal didn’t want to miss the window for getting into the solar trade in Brazil on the ground floor, Little said. He worked with the Tecnometal owner 20 to 30 years ago and sold him the resources needed to create a solar panel manufacturing facility in San Paulo then.
“He was one of our first customers in the world,” Little said. “He’s anxious to be a frontrunner.”
Unfortunately, the first Tecnometal solar facility never took off, and Little’s client ended up using his plant primarily to build computer elements and sold some of the solar manufacturing components, Little said.
“Originally, he was way ahead of the market,” Little said. “He eventually shut it down.”
Now that Tecnometal is back up and running, the owner returned to Spire for new manufacturing equipment.
“He still had some of the old equipment,” Little said. “But the facility he has now is state-of-the-art and modern.”
Brazil, which is rich in natural resources, including oil and gas, has been slow to build up a strong alternative-energy program. In addition to the availability of affordable energy in the country, there are infrastructural issues in this vast geographically and culturally diverse country. But as worldwide momentum builds behind the solar movement, it’s reaching Brazil.
The new Tecnometal Equipamentos plant in San Paulo will take off slowly, Little said, producing a fraction of its capacity at first, but will be able to grow quickly with demand.
“If you look at the chain of job creation down there,” Little said, “this one 20-megawatt plant will probably create about 100 jobs.”
Image courtesy of Spire.