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Green energy generation – Brazil banks on solar and biogas

23.08.2016 – Brazil wants to use alternative sources, such as the sun, to generate more energy. GIZ is supporting the country in promoting solar technology.

Brazil has a population of more than 200 million and the largest economy in South America. Its energy consumption is correspondingly high. While the South American country does generate ample energy, the Brazilian Government is striving to diversify its energy sector to a greater extent and generate the required energy using low-carbon methods wherever possible. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is lending its support on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

One example of this successful partnership is the Casa Solar in Brasília. In this project, GIZ is advising the Brazilian vocational training provider SENAI in training experts to work with renewable energies. The training centre was expanded in June 2016 to include two further training roofs with photovoltaic installations, which allow testing of the system in everyday conditions. The energy specialists are sought after because the demand for photovoltaic installations is growing continously: in 2015 around 500 buildings had a small installation; national energy agency ANEEL estimates there will be approx. 700,000 installations by 2024. As Brazil’s population is primarily concentrated in cities, GIZ is supporting Rio de Janeiro in particular in installing photovoltaic technology on more roofs.

Furthermore, as a follow-up to the 1,000 Roofs Project completed in 2013, the Brazilian Government stipulates the use of solar cells when building social housing. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), GIZ has helped provide 500 social housing units in Rio de Janeiro with solar thermal hot water.

In order to advance electricity generation from concentrated solar power (CSP) even further in Brazil, several CSP power plants have been allowed to participate in national energy auctions in recent years. Furthermore, the regulatory authority put out a strategic invitation to tender for research projects. The first of these plants is currently being planned with the help of a loan from KfW Development Bank and the technical support of GIZ.

Biogas also offers great potential for supplying energy: a large amount of gas accumulates in sewage treatment plants and landfills in the country. Therefore, on behalf of BMZ, GIZ is promoting wider use of biogas technology in Brazil as part of the German Climate Technology Initiative. Four Brazilian-German research projects have already presented initial findings on how to market jointly developed biogas technologies. For example, the first biogas laboratory has opened its doors in the federal state of Santa Catarina.