In the US, Tesla and SolarCity grab most of the solar power headlines. But globally, China’s BYD is making plenty of noise of its own. It has just agreed to construct a new $45 million dollar factory to build solar panels for the Brazilian market. Until recently, Brazil got the majority of its electrical power from hydroelectric facilities, but droughts have forced it to consider other renewable sources as well.
The new factory will be built next door to BYD’s existing electric bus factory. BYD is a world leader in electric buses and has another bus factory in California. The new factory will create 300 new jobs. It is expected to begin making solar panels in 2017.
One of the factors in the decision to invest in Brazil is the country’s commitment to solar power. Today, it has 30 MW of installed solar capacity at 39 facilities, but expects to boost that to almost 3,000 MW from 134 plants by 2019. Brazil also has 8,700 MW of installed wind energy.
“Such a positive trend has prompted BYD Energy to set up PV module manufacturing in the country, resulting not only in the growth of the company’s sustainable development platform in South America but also in significant job creation and strengthening of a new productive chain in Brazil,” says a spokesperson for the company.
BYD’s decision to build a new manufacturing plant for solar panels in the heart of São Paulo will help transform Brazil into a renewable energy superpower. It’s use of electric buses is also an indication of Brazil’s commitment to zero emissions in the long term.
BYD is a world leader in electric transportation. It is consistently one of the largest manufacturers of electric buses and battery electric cars in China. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is a major investor in the company.