Solar power could help Brazil avoid the catastrophic effects of its imminent energy crisis.
Brazilis currently facing a devastating drought, which is causing a tragic drop in the levels of the reservoirs that supply many hydroelectric dams situated in the country’s industrial powerhouse and major population centre. What’s more, with the seven-month dry period coming up, the reservoirs could fall to 10% of their capacity, and this would have “catastrophic” effects on energy security.
The perspective of a severe energy crisis, together with the recent appointment of a more open-minded Minister of Energy, Eduardo Braga, is leading Brazil to rethink its previous aversion towards solar power. In fact, given the present situation, the country – which currently relies on hydroelectric dams for up to 80% of its energy - needs to diversify its energy sources, and the Minister announced his plans to turn many hydroelectric dams into solar energy farms by attaching solar panels to buoys and making them float on the surface of the diminishing reservoirs. This, according to calculations made by ministry officials, could generate up to 15,000 MegaWatts (MW) of power.
The solar panels will firstly be tested on two dams owned by state companies, and if the project is successful it will be extended to other dams in the southeast and centre west of the country.
Braga wants to introduce new rules to foster the installation of solar panels on buildings with large roofs, and has also promised tax breaks for the production of photovoltaic panels. Moreover, two auctions for solar power will be held later this year, and many foreign companies are longing to get a share in this market, as it is likely to grow rapidly in the coming years thanks to its incredible potential (equivalent to 20 times the total of all the present installed capacity of electrical energy).
The gLAWcal Team
Thursday, 16 April 2015