Devon renewable energy firm developing large solar farms in Brazil

A Devon firm has established itself as one of Brazil’s fastest growing solar energy providers and expects to generate sales of £125m to the South American country during the next five years.

Lisarb Energy, develops, constructs, finances and manages large scale solar farms across Latin America’s largest county in a bid to provide alternative sources of clean power to some of its leading corporations.

The company, which is based in Barnstaple and also has operations in London and Rio de Janeiro, currently has one operational site with seven in development and a further two under construction.

Lisarb Energy’s chairman Jamie MacDonald-Murray co-founded the company in 2017, having identified a need to replace falling electrical generation capacity from Brazil’s hydroelectric plants.

Mr MacDonald-Murray explained: “Historically, 70% of Brazil’s energy has come from hydroelectric power plants. While hydro is a renewable source of power, unfortunately there are increasing problems with these plants.

“Many of them are getting old and failing because of lack of investment; frequent droughts mean that water levels are often too low to generate sufficient power, and fundamentally, many hydro plants are in the wrong place – too far from where the energy is consumed. In practical terms, people and businesses are experiencing more frequent blackouts.”

Over the last year the company has grown its exports to Brazil by 500%, while over the past 18 months it has grown its solar portfolio from 50MW to 3GW.

Market research firm Mordor Intelligence has forecast that the renewable energy market in Brazil to grow by a compound annual rate of more than 5% between the period 2020-2025.

According to statistics released last year by the Brazilian government, renewable sources of energy account for more than 80% of the country’s electricity matrix.

Brazil is also one the world’s leading nations in creating jobs within renewable energy, with figures published by data firm Statista estimating over a million jobs were created in the sector in 2019.

Off the back of its success in Brazil, Lisarb Energy is now planning to expand its presence in other Latin American export markets, as well as Portugal.

Paul Shand, the head of trade for the Department for International Trade (DIT) in the South West, said the rise in Lisarb’s exports to Brazil demonstrated the strong demand for alternative renewable energy sources in Latin America.

Mr Shand added it was “great to see a company with a strong environmental purpose thriving.”