The solar power industry association in Brazil, Absolar, believes annual investment in distributed generation projects there will triple to 16 billion reais (about US$3.64 billion) this year, driving imports of equipment from China, Reuters reports.

The news agency quotes an executive of BYD Co. Ltd, Adalberto Maluf, as saying the Brazilian subsidiary of the Chinese maker of solar power modules is working almost 20 hours a day to complete its orders.

The report says Brazilian distributed generation company ABGD estimates that 17,000 companies are working on various projects, including equipment makers, distributors and installers.

Absolar forecasts that new solar power projects will add 3.4 gigawatts of electricity generation capacity in Brazil this year, the report says.

Financial incentives make it much cheaper to invest in and use solar power than electricity from the grid, which means a distributed generation project can pay for itself in about four years, Reuters says.