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By Luciano Costa
BRASILIA (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell PLC <RDSa.L> is ready to start negotiating with potential clients the sale of future solar power on Brazil's free energy market from its first farms due to start operating in 2023, Shell's solar business development manager for Latin America said.
In a telephone interview on Monday, Maria Gabriela da Rocha said the startup date would depend on the negotiations and was part of Shell's strategy to move into renewable energy, betting on industries' increasingly wanting to sign long-term clean energy contracts.
"For the last two years, we have focused mainly on building up our portfolio. Now we will start talking to clients with products in hand to offer," she said.
Shell's solar projects are in an advanced stage of development, specially in Minas Gerais state, Rocha noted.
The first project that has already been registered with Brazil's electricity regulator, ANEEL, is a 130-megawatt solar farm complex built in Brasilandia, Minas Gerais state, some 500 km (310 miles) from the city of Belo Horizonte, at an estimated cost of 500 million reais ($102 million).
Rocha said the majority of companies seeking clean energy contracts were multinational corporations with which Shell could negotiate internationally, while it also has a local sales unit negotiating in the local market in Brazil.
The executive said Shell was looking to be a big player in the Brazilian renewable energy market and had not ruled out acquisitions in the solar sector, including opportunities that might arise from the crisis brought by the coronavirus pandemic.
Shell's top focus, however, is developing solar projects from scratch, from the selection of locations to the measuring of sun radiation.
(Reporting by Luciano Costa; Editing by Peter Cooney)