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First Steps in Community Solar Projects in Brazil

11/29/2017 - 12h02

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FILIPE OLIVEIRA
FROM SÃO PAULO

A market for solar power generation in small power plants shared by consumers and companies is taking its first steps in Brazil. It serves anyone who does not have space or has an unsuitable roof to install solar panels at their home or business.

According to Aneel (Brazilian Electric Energy Agency), the country has 41 similar power plants in operation. The model became possible last year, after the regulatory agency issued rules for power generation distributed in locations other than where it will be used.

Rodrigo Valença/Divulgação
solar power plant in Fernando de Noronha
Solar Power Plant in Fernando de Noronha

Consumers share the same power generation system, which can have up to 5 megawatts of installed capacity. The power generated is sent to the electrical grid and consumers are entitled to equivalent credits which may be deducted from their electric bill. Credits can only be used in areas served by the same electricity distributor for the location where the power plant is.

The installation of home solar panels starts at R$ 15,000 (US$ 4,600), but prices for community solar projects should be more attractive, seeing companies responsible for their installation usually buy panels in larger scale, reducing costs.

The first project of the startup NewSun, in the city of Franca, will allow consumers to buy quotas and receive credits deductible from their electric bill.

Each quota costs R$ 7,900 (US$ 2,400), corresponding to an average of 170 kilowatt/hours per month. The power plant will have an area of 120,000 square meters, and capacity to serve about 4,000 homes. It is expected to be ready in March.

Translated by ANA BEATRIZ DEMARIA

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