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Vale starts generating renewable energy at Sol do Cerrado

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Energy Global,

Vale has now started up the Sol do Cerrado solar farm in the municipality of Jaíba, in northern Minas Gerais, Brazil. The project is one of the biggest solar energy facilities in Latin America, with installed capacity of 766 MW-peak, equivalent to the power consumed by a city of 800 000 inhabitants. Once the solar park has reached its full capacity in July 2023, it will account for 16% of all the power consumed by Vale in Brazil.

The project is an important step in achieving Vale’s climate goals of cutting net carbon emissions (scopes 1 and 2) by 33% by 2030 and achieving zero net emissions by 2050. Vale expects that renewable sources will account for 100% of its electricity consumption in Brazil by 2025, and globally by 2030.

The power generated by Sol do Cerrado will reduce Vale’s emissions by 134 000 tpy carbon dioxide equivalent which is equivalent to taking around 100 000 small cars off the roads. Vale chose to present this project at the COP27 Climate Conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

The solar plant is composed of 17 sub-parks, of which four have so far been energised. The area occupied is equivalent to approximately 1300 football fields. Once Sol do Cerrado has reached its maximum capacity, it will have 1.4 million solar panels, controlled by a system that automatically tracks the sun’s movements during the day to maximise output. In all, 10.2 million m of cables will be used to transport the power.

Work on building Sol do Cerrado began in January 2021, creating around 3000 jobs during peak activities. Almost 50% of the workers were hired locally and 16% were women. Local residents were trained and employed to work on the site as builders, mechanics, and industrial/electric installation professionals. In addition, around a quarter of the project’s suppliers are from the region.

When Sol do Cerrado reaches its maximum operating capacity in July 2023, it will employ 90 people in various professions, including electrical technicians, electricians and general service workers.

“Sol do Cerrado is a unique project for Vale, which is providing local development and renewable energy. It is linked to our goal of being leaders in sustainable mining,” said Eduardo Bartolomeo, Vale’s CEO.

The project includes laying a 15 km, 230 000 V transmission line, connecting substations in Sol do Cerrado and Jaíba, and taking the power to the national grid.

For more news and technical articles from the global renewable industry, read the latest issue of Energy Global magazine.

Energy Global's Autumn 2022 issue

The Autumn 2022 issue of Energy Global hosts an array of technical articles focusing on wave & tidal, waste-to-energy, energy storage, solar technology, and more. This issue also features a regional report outlining how green hydrogen is playing a key role in the renewable transition across Europe.

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