The 766MW Sol do Cerrado solar power project is located in Jaiba, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Image courtesy of Nextracker Inc.
Construction of the Sol do Cerrado PV solar power plant started in January 2022. Image courtesy of MYR Group.
Vale is developing and will operate the Sol do Cerrado solar park. Image courtesy of MYR Group.

The Sol do Cerrado project is a 766MW photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant under construction in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Brazilian mining company Vale is developing the project with an estimated investment of £369m ($500m), as part of its commitment to self-generate 100% of the energy requirement for its Brazilian mining operations by 2025 and achieve carbon neutrality across its global operations by 2050.

The project was announced in December 2020 and construction works started in January 2022, while operations are expected to start by the end of 2022.

At full capacity, the PV solar power plant is expected to produce approximately 1.7 Gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity and offset 136,407 tonnes (t) of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions a year.

The Sol do Cerrado project is intended to supply electricity to Vale’s mining operations in the Jaiba area of Minas Gerais and account for 13% of the miner’s total electricity demand in the country by 2025.

Location and site details

The Sol do Cerrado PV solar power facility is being developed on a 1,280ha-site in the Jaiba municipality located in the northern part of the Brazillian state Minas Gerais.

Sol do Cerrado solar power plant make-up

The Sol do Cerrado PV solar park will comprise 17 sub-parks with a combined installed capacity of 766MW.

It will feature a total of 1.45 million bifacial solar panels mounted on single-axis NX Horizon smart solar trackers supplied by Nextracker.

The solar park will utilise up to 5,500km of cable to gather and transmit electricity from different solar blocks to an elevator substation onsite.

Power transmission

The electrify generated by the PV solar power plant will be stepped-up at the Sol do Cerrado collector substation from where it will be transmitted through a 15km-long and 230kV double-circuit line connecting the existing 230kV Jaiba substation of the Brazilian National Interconnected System (SIN).

The overhead transmission line between the Sol do Cerrado and Jaiba substations will include a total of 39 towers, 14 of which will be self-supporting structures and the remaining 25 cable-stayed.

Contractors involved

Nextracker, a solar tracker manufacturer based in the US, was selected by Vale to supply NX Horizon smart solar trackers for the Sol do Cerrado solar power project in May 2021.

It will also provide engineering, commissioning and asset management support services, along with advanced data analytics for preventive maintenance of the trackers.

Brazilian engineering and construction company CESBE Engenharia, in partnership with Canada-based Quebec Construction, is responsible for the civil construction and electromechanical assembly works of the 265MW northern section of the Sol do Cerrado PV solar park.

WEG, an electric equipment manufacturer based in Brazil, was contracted to supply solar inverters for the project in May 2021.

MYR Group, an electrical infrastructure contractor based in the US, was engaged to provide environmental management, licensing, inspection and technical support services for the PV installation, along with the transmission infrastructure.