Experts point to challenges in increasing scale of distributed generation in Brazil

If the 2015 Cleaner Energy Seminar was more technical and conceptual in debating alternatives and challenges of the energy sector as a whole, the 7th edition of the event, sponsored by Instituto Ideal and the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), had a more practical approach. That was the conclusion of the president of Instituto Ideal, Mauro Passos, after two discussion panels and a workshop with national experts, which discussed ways to popularize distributed generation. “The subject of alternative energy is relevant not only to Brazil, but to the whole world. Here specifically, the market has expanded to such an extent that the scene is more competitive,” observed Passos.

The executive secretary of the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), Fernando Ferreira, alerted an audience of over 200 students, researchers, and entrepreneurs to the fact that there are approximately 30 million people without access to energy in Latin America and the Caribbean. Ferreira believes that this is a valuable opportunity to expand the alternative energy market. “This modality is no longer just a sustainable or environmentally friendly business, but is especially financially beneficial. Promoting spaces such as this Seminar for discussion and the exchange of knowledge and experiences is very important for spreading this culture,” said Ferreira.

State representative Dirceu Dresch (PT) was also present at the opening ceremony, representing the Legislative Assembly of the State of Santa Catarina, as well as representatives from the sponsors Engie Solar, Caixa, Banco Regional de Desenvolvimento Extremo Sul (BRDE), and Quantum Engenharia. The following supporting institutions were also represented: CELESC, WWF Brazil, German Cooperation for Sustainable Development through GIZ, and FIESC.

Incentives for mobilization

At the event, the president of Ideal and the coordinator of Climate Change and Energy at WWF-Brazil, André Nahur, signed an agreement to reinforce the partnership between the two entities for the continuity of the Solar Label project. According to the project manager of Ideal, Paula Scheidt, new guidelines for the label, which certifies and recognizes companies, homes, and public and private institutions that invest in solar electricity, should be presented before the end of July this year.

Participants of the Seminar also saw at first hand the institutional video of América do Sol, Brazil’s largest photovoltaic solar energy dissemination program in Brazil. The audiovisual presentation was produced by socio-environmental cinematographer Todd Southgate and journalist Andressa Braun, communications advisor at Ideal.  The film has subtitled versions in Spanish and English, and is supported by Eletrosul Eletrobrás, the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Click here to watch.

Inspiration by example

The event’s first panel aimed to present ways to popularize distributed energy in the business sector. It was mediated by Mauro Passos and featured the president of the Câmara de Energia (Chamber of Energy) at FIESC, Otmar Josef Müller, planning manager of BRDE, Felipe de Castro Couto, and president of Engie Solar, Rodolfo de Sousa Pinto. Müller highlighted that the dissemination of renewable energy is an important subject for industry in the state of Santa Catarina, due to the increase in competition that it can generate. He pointed to credit line extensions and ICMS tax exemption as the organization’s main attributes in this context.

Also presented in this panel were the funding lines available for distributed generation projects, and dissemination challenges. The president of Engie Energia presented the historical evolution of solar energy in Brazil, and he emphasized that focusing on the target audience is essential for stimulating installation in both the private market and the business sector. “There are different modalities for connecting to the distribution grid. We must increase understanding of this, so that the investment becomes more and more profitable. However, we demand that conditions are as favourable for small consumers as for large enterprises,” he said.

The second panel focused on the popularization of distributed generation in cities, and was mediated by the Climate Change and Energy coordinator of WWF-Brazil, André Nahur. It brought together the regulatory expert of ANEEL, Marco Aurélio Lenzi Castro, fundraising advisor of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MCTI), Daniel Chang, project assistant of the German Cooperative and Raiffeisen Confederation (DGRV), Camila Japp, and technical management analyst of Organização das Cooperativas Brasileiras (OCB, Organisation for Brazilian Cooperatives), Marco Olivio Morato de Oliveira.

Castro presented the main changes from Normative Resolution no. 482/2012, which created the Electric Energy Offset System. “Without a doubt, the dissemination of distributed generation is a bottom-up process, where private enterprises should act independently without depending only on the government”, he stressed. Among the points highlighted by the MCTI representative were the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a proposal approved by the UN in September 2015 as an effective evolution of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which have clean and accessible energy as their objective.

The potential of cooperatives as consumers and also producers of renewable energy was a consensus among DGRV and OCB representatives. For Camila, the typical cooperative business model not only favors regional development, but particularly the empowerment of citizens, a crucial aspect for the popularization of the advancement of renewable energies. According to Oliveira, in the Brazilian context the cost of equipment, the shortage of skilled workers, fluctuations in the market, and the lack of an investment culture for long-term projects are some of the challenges in the expansion process of this sector.


The workshops were one of the new features of this 7th edition of the Cleaner Energy Seminar. Moderated by Professor Ricard Rüther, the first part of the activity focused on technical standards and procedures. Marco Aurélio Lenzi Castro demonstrated a step-by-step procedure for a PV system connected to the grid, and Celesc engineer Thiago de Oliveira Cassel explained the distributor’s connection standards. Ruy Tiedje, an engineer from Quantum Engenharia, compared the evolution of distributed energy in different regions of the country, and emphasized that gaining consumer trust is one of the greatest challenges for the expansion of this market. “It is essential to invest in post-sale processes, fostering greater dialogue among consumers, utilities, and distributors, especially in order to follow the changes in the consumption profile after the installation of the generation system.”

The last stage of the workshop brought up one of the hottest topics related to the popularization of distributed energy: financial return on investment. The CEO of Solar Energy do Brasil, Hewerton Martins, affirmed that consumers need to be educated to become producers of their own energy, which involves aspects such as consumer perception with regards to the energy bill, and the concept of self-consumption. The business director of Sicoob Ecocredi, João Correa Júnior, shared his experience of building the cooperative’s new administrative headquarters, located in Três Coroas in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.  The building is notable for its energy generation system. It has 184 photovoltaic panels in 10 arrangements, which can generate an average of 69.030 kWh/year to supply 50% of the energy demand at the site. The investment was around R$300,000, and the average payback period is 8 years.

A project that resulted on the installation of 369 PV systems in 22 cities

Throughout 2014 and 2015, a project called “50 Telhados” (50 Roofs in Portuguese) has been an initiative of the Instituto Ideal for installing fifty 2 kWp or 100 kWp total power photovoltaic systems per included city, has resulted on the installation of 369 PV roofs in Brazil. This project has been conducted in partnership with PV installing companies in 22 cities in Brazil and has amounted to approximately 2.38 MWp installed power with an estimated 3.62 GWh generation per year. President of Ideal`s Institute, Mauro Passos, believes that this project has encouraged a suitable competition, producing results that confirm the widespread use of PV technology, urban by definition. “50 Telhados has been a tool that can leverage and aid consumer decision-making.”

Of the 22 included cities on the project, nine (9) have achieved their intended target, and, most of them, through total installed capacity. Fortaleza (CE) and Rio de Janeiro (RJ) have effectively installed more than 50 roofs. Other cities that have achieved their goals were: Florianópolis (SC), Salvador (BA), Santa Cruz do Sul (RS), Campo Grande (MS), Curitiba (PR), Luis Eduardo Magalhaes (BA) and Recife (PE). The three states with the largest number of installed roofs were Ceará, Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul, each reaching more than 60 PV installations. In terms of installed capacity, in addition to these three states, Bahia deserves to be highlighted, it reached second place, followed by Ceará.

The 50 Telhados Project has been locally implemented in those cities by 15 installing companies. Of these companies, the ones able to amount the largest number of cities were Solar Energy do Brasil, which has amounted five cities from different states; and Enersol Brasil, with four cities in the state of Bahia. Satrix has accounted for the largest number of PV installations in a single city, 63 solar roofs in Fortaleza. Solar Energy do Brazil came next (37 in Campo Grande and 33 in Rio de Janeiro), followed by Solled Eficiência Energética (28 in Santa Cruz do Sul) and Araxá Energia Solar (22 in Florianópolis).

The 50 Telhados Project was developed by Instituto Ideal in December 2013, with the aim to broadcast photovoltaic distributed generation, thus promoting REN 482/2012 – Regulating Norm of the Brazilian Electric Energy Agency (ANEEL), which creates net metering. The target of reaching 50 photovoltaic roofs of 2 kWp or 100 kWp of total installed capacity per city could be reached individually by the installing company or joined by others, in a period of up to two years.

The German Cooperation for Sustainable Development has supported this project through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

Ranking of cities with regard to installed capacity

Rank of City City Executing Company Installed Capacity (kWp) Estimated Generation (MWh/Yr.) # of Roofs
1 Fortaleza Dya Energia Solar and Satrix Energias Renováveis 462 748 65
2 Rio de Janeiro Prátil, Solar Energy do Brasil and Solarize Serviços em Tecnologia Ambiental 312 447 52
3 Florianópolis Araxá Energia Solar 196 264 22
4 Salvador Axitec do Brasil and Enersol Brasil 190 308 23
5 Santa Cruz do Sul Energia Própria and Solled Eficiência Energética 176 261 29
6 Campo Grande Solar Energy do Brasil 165 259 37
7 Luis Eduardo Magalhães Enersol Brasil 154 254 14
8 Curitiba 3B Energy, Elco Engenharia de Montagens and Solar Energy do Brasil 151 202 29
9 Recife Satrix Energias Renováveis 143 231 10
10 Porto Alegre Energia Própria 74 109 19
11 Venâncio Aires Solled Eficiência Energética 59 83 5
12 Governador Valadares Seltec Soluções Elétricas e Tecnológicas 50 75 11
13 Teófilo Otoni Seltec Soluções Elétricas e Tecnológicas 48 77 14
14 Lajeado Energia Própria 46 68 9
15 Búzios Prátil and Solar Energy do Brasil 33 45 8
16 Cuiabá Solar Energy do Brasil 29 46 4
17 Barreiras Enersol Brasil 26 44 2
18 Vitória BVK Engenharia 18 26 5
19 Belo Horizonte Dya Energia Solar 14 21 4
20 Porto Seguro Enersol Brasil 13 21 1
21 Natal Dya Energia Solar 12 16 3
22 Petrópolis Solarize Serviços em Tecnologia Ambiental and Solstício Energia 9                      12                   3
  Total sum   2377 3616 369

UFSC launches the Center for Solar Energy Research and Training in Florianópolis

The activity was part of the activities of the Seminar Energia + Limpa (“Cleaner Energy”), organized by the Instituto Ideal

Expected to be operational as of July, the Center for Solar Energy Research and Training at the Federal University of Santa Catarina – Photovoltaic/UFSC, must meet one of the main demands to the dissemination of solar energy in Brazil: workforce qualification. Opened on June 1, in Florianópolis, as part of the activities of the 6th Seminar Energia + Limpa (“Cleaner Energy”), organized by the Instituto Ideal and UFSC, the Center is an unprecedented initiative in the state of Santa Catarina. It was built with the financial support of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI).

According to Professor Ricardo Rüther, from UFSC, who is ahead of the implementation of the Center, although there is a significant lack of trained professionals, solar energy is still the segment of renewable energy that creates more jobs worldwide. “In line with the constant search for solutions that make the tariff for solar energy more competitive, training is a condition for the advancement of renewable energies. No wonder that countries like India and the United States invest a great deal in this area, “says Rüther, who is also technical director of Instituto Ideal.
The Center started with a project in 2010, and it will integrate various photovoltaic technologies. Administration, classrooms, laboratories and workshops will be divided into two blocks. The building has a total capacity of 100KWp, and for full operation, the center will use only about 60% of the generated energy. “The rest will be distributed to UFSC’s main campus,” said the professor. About 25 students from the Photovoltaic UFSC Group, coordinated by Rüther, are already working on site, but in the future, four teachers and their teams will be able to use the Center as well.

Rüther also highlighted the project for a solar-powered bus, which is also supported by MCTI and should drive along the UFSC-Sapiens Parque route. “The vehicle will have room for meetings and Internet access.”

During the opening ceremony, the Secretary for Science and Technology for Social Inclusion (Secis) of MCTI, Eron Bezerra, stressed the importance of alternative energy and energy efficiency in the real context of sustainability and independence. “Sustainability is not the same as preservation. The days are numbered for countries that cannot guarantee their independence in the energy sector and do not look into developing renewable energy,” he said.

For the Secretary, teaching and research for development of technologies aligned to reality have great potential to ensure sustainability for the population. The role of the government, in this context, is to encourage research and develop projects. “For 2015, we have R$ 90 million available for funding, at a monthly 3.8% interest rate. We need to narrow the distance between government, research and teaching institutions and private companies so that these funds are well applied”.

According to the Pro-Dean of Research at UFSC, Jamil Assreuy, the Training Center signals the beginning of the construction of the science and technology park of the university in Sapiens Parque, located in the Innovation Route of Florianópolis.

The 6th Seminar Energia+ Limpa (“Cleaner Energy”) was supported by FIESC and the German Cooperation for Sustainable Development, through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and sponsored by the following institutions and companies: Brazilian Development Bank for Southern Brazil (BRDE), Araxá Energia Solar, Solar Energy do Brazil, Celesc, Box, Eletrobras Eletrosul and Tractebel. Furthermore, the event has the institutional support of Ambiente Energia, Electricity Trade Chamber (CCEE), Brazilian Wind Energy Association (ABEEólica), Brazilian Association of Energy Traders (Abraceel) and the Brazilian Council for Sustainable Construction (CBCS).

Seminar debate development of the renewable industry

Event sponsored by Instituto Ideal in Florianópolis, on June 2, stressed the importance of capacity building in the sector.

When presenting an economic panorama of the Brazilian energy matrix, during the 6th Seminar Energia + Limpa (“Cleaner energy”), professor of COPPE/UFRJ, Luiz Pinguelli Rosa, was assertive: there is a great deal to be developed in Brazil’s energy industry, especially in the renewable sector. For Pinguelli, rising production costs, import of derivatives and the financial problems faced by Petrobras and Eletrobras are some of the main factors that have led to a change of the current scenario. “The main sources of energy in our matrix are not sustainable, nor efficient. So, I believe in alternative sources such as wind energy, especially considering the seasonal factors of sources, and solar energy, which has great distribution potential”, he noted.

Challenges to professional training in the renewable sector was the subject of the Panel moderated by the professor at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Ricardo Rüther, which brought together the regional director of SENAI/SC, Jefferson de Oliveira Gomes, and the Dean of the Instituto Federal de Santa Catarina (IFSC), Maria Clara Kaschn Schneider. According to Schneider, it is crucial to develop teaching, research and extension activities aligned with the productive sector and the market’s actual demands. For the Dean, the productive chain of the renewable industry is still very new and, therefore, we must invest in mechanisms aimed at continuing education to train teachers at different levels and modes. “In Brazil, specific courses in that area are still very recent, but I believe they should be focused on interdisciplinarity, with a broader and interdisciplinary curriculum”.

For the regional director of SENAI, one of the challenges of training in the industry, is understanding the concept of sustainability. According to Gomes, this is a very complex definition, considering that it involves social, economic and environmental issues. “I believe that active methodologies, which predict the involvement of students as main agents responsible for learning, may be a way to do that. We must invest in a global education, while working locally. In other words, we must have a certain level of expertise, but rely primarily on a solid basic and more universal training “, he advocates.

Latin American tropicalization and integration

Along with training, experts gathered at the Seminar, held at FIESC, have considered the development of the domestic industry in the renewable market as a key driver in this market. The panel, moderated by the president of the Energy Affairs Bureau of FIESC, Otmar Josef Müller, was also attended by the manager of the Department of Accreditation of Machines, Equipment and Systems of BNDES, Adriane Helena Rodrigues; the general coordinator of the Biotechnology, Energy and Information Technology and Communication Department of Innovation of MDIC, Luciano Cunha de Sousa; the Sales Director of the Weg Group, Harry Schmelzer Neto and the CEO of SCGás, Cósme Pôlese.

According to Rodrigues, the development of solar energy in Brazil should occur similarly to that of wind energy, forming a virtuous cycle of encouragement to the industry whereas consolidation of a supply chain must be a priority. For Sousa, the creation of a market in this sector occurs more slowly, because, unlike what occurs in other industries, the energy market is characterized by strong government control. “There must to be awareness about the importance of the energy industry in the industrial context as a whole, and it is certainly a long-term job,” he said. Schmelzer Grandson, on the other hand, defended a change of thinking about energy marketing, mostly in the form of auctions. He believes that the announcement of new auctions may lead to a boom in the production of renewables, which would mean a chance of growth for the local industry.

The development of the biogas chain was also highlighted in the debate. The CEO of SCGás stressed the importance of tropicalizing foreign models and technologies, and setting policies for support and encouragement of the biogas chain. “In Santa Catarina, the generation potential with biomethane is so big that, with the appropriate investment in distribution infrastructure, we could definitely stop importing gas in the state. We should soon launch a public notice for the purchase of biomethane”, he announced.
The event was organized in collaboration with UFSC and had the support of FIESC and the German Cooperation for Sustainable Development, through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and sponsored by the following institutions and companies: Brazilian Development Bank for Southern Brazil (BRDE), Araxá Energia Solar, Solar Energy do Brasil, Celesc, Caixa ,Eletrobras ,Eletrosul and Tractebel. Furthermore, it has the institutional support of Ambiente Energia, Electricity Trade Chamber (CCEE), Brazilian Wind Energy Association (ABEEólica), Brazilian Association of Energy Traders (Abraceel) and Brazilian Council for Sustainable Construction (CBCS).

Experts criticize vulnerability of Brazilian energy matrix

The Energia + Limpa (“Cleaner Energy”) Seminar, sponsored by the Instituto Ideal, has also discussed the challenges to the growth of renewable sources of energy.

Challenges to long-term energy planning in Brazil was one of the central themes addressed by the panelists of the opening panel of the 6th Energia + Limpa (“Cleaner Energy”) Seminar, which brought together leaders of Brazil’s energy industry in Florianópolis on Tuesday (6). In their point of view, a greater involvement of civil society is required in the government’s decisions about the future of the energy matrix, because the country will need to increase its energy generation capacity in the coming years while ensuring the resilience of the electrical grid.

The executive coordinator of the project Fundo Verde (“Green Fund”) and professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Suzana Kahn, stressed the importance of renewable sources of energy in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and also the need to decarbonize energy generation as a whole. Kahn warned of the risks of not diversifying the energy matrix, and highlighted that energy security requires structural measures. “You have to integrate and coordinate initiatives that are very isolated at present. We need to move on from the pilot phase so that we can develop a specific policy for the future, “he said.

With 80% of its energy matrix based on hydroelectric power until the year 2000, Brazil had to seek energy alternatives to the current water crisis. According to André Ferreira, representative of the NGO network Observatório do Clima (“Climate Observatory”), this has led to an increased offer, although still incipient, of alternative sources of energy. “The main source tends to remain the hydroelectric power plants, but with an increased focus on the Amazon region. For the advancement of renewable sources of energy, the challenge lies in defining a long-term plan and implement possible scenarios, in a constructive and instructive manner”, he says.

For the coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Center for Energy Planning, State University of Campinas, Gilberto Januzzi, a way to increase the share of alternative sources, and thereby increase the diversity of the matrix, is to develop new business models for the energy industry. Faced with many questions of the audience about the role of the government in encouraging the adoption of alternative sources such as photovoltaic distributed generation, the coordinator of the Climate Change and Energy of Program-WWF Brazil, André Nahur, stressed the need to develop a low carbon economy based on third sector initiatives. “Energy development is also a social issue, so you need to engage and empower society, so that we can join forces with the government and the private sector,” he said.

Organized by Instituto Ideal at the Federation of Industries of the State of Santa Catarina (FIESC), the event attracted more than 300 participants, including students, researchers, members of the private sector and energy industry enthusiasts. “The mission of sustainability has no boundaries and is a commitment to the whole society”, stressed the president of Instituto Ideal, Mauro Passos, at the opening ceremony, attended by the Vice-President of Regional Affairs of FIESC for the Southeast Region, Tito Alfredo Schmitt; the President of the Energy Affairs Bureau of FIESC, Otmar Josef Müller; the State Secretary for Sustainable Development of Santa Catarina (SDS), Carlos Chiodini; the state representative Dresch Dirceu (Labor Party); the CEO of Eletrosul, Marcio Zimmermann; and the director of KFW in Brazil, Carsten Sandhop.

The event was supported by FIESC and the German Cooperation for Sustainable Development, through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and sponsored by the following institutions and companies: Brazilian Development Bank for Southern Brazil (BRDE), Araxá Energia Solar, Solar Energy do Brazil, Celesc, Box, Eletrobras Eletrosul and Tractebel. Furthermore, the event has the institutional support of Ambiente Energia, Electricity Trade Chamber (CCEE), Brazilian Wind Energy Association (ABEEólica), Brazilian Association of Energy Traders (Abraceel) and the Brazilian Council for Sustainable Construction (CBCS).

Eco_lógicas Contest with US$ 5,000 in Awards

If you are a graduate student (specialization, Masters, PhD), regularly enrolled in an educational institution in any country located in Latin America or the Caribbean, register free for Eco_lógicas: a Latin American Research Paper Contest on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.

The selected papers will be included in a book to be published in Portuguese, Spanish and English. The winning paper authors and their advisors will be awarded. Eco_lógicas aims to encourage research in the energy sector. Sign up!

Graduate Paper on the Renewable Energy Category: $ 15,000 (fifteen thousand dollars) to the research author(s)
Plus $ 10,000 (ten thousand dollars) to research advisor(s)
Graduate Paper on the Energy Efficiency Category: $ 15,000 (fifteen thousand dollars) to the research author(s)
Plus $ 10,000 (ten thousand dollars) to research advisor(s)

Register by June 30th, 2015.
:::: More information in the website of the contest.

Ideal is the winner of Energy Globe Award

Ideal´s project, América do Sol, is the winner of Energy Globe Award Brazil 2014. América do Sol includes all the actions of Ideal related to photovoltaic.

Energy Globe is a nonprofit institution that has been successfully educating via global campaigns and initiatives of the meaningful and economical use of resources and the use of renewable forms with the help of Best Practice. One of the global Energy Globe flagship projects is the environmental prize “Energy Globe Award” –  with projects from 165 countries an important signpost to the future.

For the third year now, Energy Globe introduces annually on 5th June, the UN World Environment Day, the national winning projects from all these countries in English and often in the local language on Energy Globe website. Similarly, the free access to the database with about 6000 sustainable projects is made possible online. The campaign is carried out under the patronage of UNESCO and in cooperation with UNEP under the slogan ” save the world by acting not by talking – sustainability starts with you”.

:::: Learn more about América do Sol.

Eco_lógicas contest will give until US$10.000 to the winners

Students of post-graduate degree that have research related to energy can participate to Eco_lógicas contest. The contest, promoted by Ideal Institute, will give until US$ 10 thousands to the winners of the categories renewable energies and energy efficiency. Students from Latin America and Caribbean can participate. More information in the Eco_lógicas´ website.

Ideal will stop activities for the Holidays

Ideal Institute wishes a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all who invested in a renewable energy, such as photovoltaic, and to people who want to be part of this team in 2014!

Ideal will make a break of activities, for the Holidays, from December 23th until January 3rd. We will be back in January 6th with new energies!

Ideal is responsible for “50 roofs” project

Ideal is now responsible for the “50 roofs”. The project intends to install 50 unities of photovoltaic microgeneration conected to the eletric network: 50 solar roofs. They must generate between 3000 and 4500 kW/ per year in each city of the project or equivalent of 100 kW installed potential. The project is an incentive for people invest in solar electricity generation.

The project was created by Econova, a company specialised in photovoltaic. In Renex event, 29th november, Econova transferred the project to Ideal. The intention is to expand the project for all the country. Interested in “50 roofs” can know more about it the website of the project.