On November 27, 2019 Instituto Estadual do Ambiente (“INEA”) published Resolution No. 189/2019, which regulates the environmental licensing of solar photovoltaic power generation projects in the State of Rio de Janeiro. 

The resolution states that the environmental licensing must consider the enterprise as a whole, including infrastructure such as substations, transmission and distribution lines as well as other associated systems, roads, works and equipment.

For those enterprises with a power output of 10 MW or higher, the Simplified Environmental Report (“RAS”) is now required, in addition to other mandatory documentation requested by INEA.

Enterprises with power output of 5MW or lower and/or lower than 10 MW, must present, in addition to other documentation required by INEA, the project description, as well as the environmental diagnosis, an environmental impact assessment and an environmental prognosis for the impacted area.

Furthermore, environmental licensing will not be required for a project with power output lower than 5MW as long as the project complies with certain conditions, such as not being located in permanent preservation areas or conservation units as well as offering no risk of pollution or contamination to water resources and soil.

Should the enterprise decide to sequentially install contiguous generating units or central plants  (with shared use of infrastructure), environmental licensing will be carried out considering the complete set of generating units or central plants, in addition to the separate issuance of environmental licenses for each module of the venture.

The resolution reflects the Brazilian federal government’s—and the Brazilian states’ and municipalities’—commitment to encouraging the development of projects that produce clean energy.