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Biggest rooftop solar farm in Latin America unveiled in Brazil

15 July 2014
Biggest rooftop solar farm in Latin America unveiled in Brazil

LONDON: Brazil is now home to the biggest rooftop solar farm in Latin America, marking another win for the nation’s leading clean energy portfolio, of which it ploughed US$3.4 billion into last year.

The solar farm, which is expected to generate up to 1.2 gigawatt hours of power a year, is installed on the roof of the Eletrosul headquarters in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina. Power utility Eletrosul is part of the Brazilian energy giant Eletrobas, and invests heavily in alternative energy projects such as hydroelectric power.

Known as Usina Megawatt Solar, the farm was built using US$4.2 billion in funds which came from the German development bank KfW, along with technical support from the Institute for Development of Alternative Energy in Latin America (Ideal Institute), Federal University of Santa Catarina and the German Development Cooperation, through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH

Boasting over 4,000 panels which are fixed to the giant building's roof and parking lots, Usina’s clean power will be connected to the regional grid and sold through public auction to businesses and communities, in a bid to encourage locals to adopt clean energy. 

Brazil solar (eletrosul)

Image: Drone of FV-UFSC (group of photovoltaic of the Federal University of Santa Catarina)

Owners of buildings that use Megawatt Solar's power will also be able to request the 'Solar Label', a certification from Ideal awarded to companies with a minimum consumption of solar electricity, according to their total energy consumption.

Speaking at the launch last month, Mauro Passos, President, Ideal Institute, said the project is a milestone in helping accelerate low carbon energy acceptance in Brazil’s cities, and explained how it will be used as a model for further research: "Our idea is to show the potential and the technical and economic viability of solar energy in urban areas throughout Latin America, and the design of the model is Eletrosul missing [sic] [will] convince governments and investors in this technology.”

The farm is another clean energy win for Brazil, which ploughed US$3.4 billion into clean energy last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The analysts reported that the region of Latin America was a major contributor to global clean energy investment in 2013, with Chile, Mexico and Uruguay also investing over US$1 billion.

Furthermore, if the Brazilian government carefully manages the ongoing growth of both its fossil and renewable energy supplies, it is well positioned to lead the global low carbon economy, according to last year's Unburnable Carbon Report by Carbon Tracker.

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, had commented on the report: “Largely because Brazil has not yet developed dependence on traditional fuels, it can capitalize on the many opportunities of a clean revolution. It has already recently announced a US$2.85 billion investment in renewable energy and biofuel research, a move which will create jobs and investor confidence.

“In the report analysis lies a large incentive for Brazil to further drive the global low carbon economy forward and promote greater investment in such a transition. But despite this promising prospect, the government must address climate risks too, with long-term climate-related policy and bold emissions reduction commitments ahead of any global 2015 climate deal.”

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By Clare Saxon

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