IMI Solar Energy Update by qjj20151


									IMI: Solar Energy Update

In a recent renewable energy (RE) seminar held in Rio de Janeiro, Hamilton Moss, the
Renewable Energy Coordinator of the Reference Center for Solar and Wind Energies
(CRESESB), provided an update of solar energy in Brazil. CRESESB is part of the
Brazilian government-owned Electrical Power Research Center (CEPEL).

According to Moss, the so-called “community” market (schools, residences, hospitals,
water pumping, etc in remote Brazilian regions) and the Light for All rural electricity
program are expected to account for the largest demand of photovoltaic panels (PV) over
the next six years, as shown in the table below:

                         Estimated PV demand through 2011
Community market              3,000 systems – 500 Wp (*) 15 MWp (**)
(formerly referred to as      each
“Prodeem” which stands for
Program for the
Development of
Municipalities and States”)
Light for All Program         10% of 2 million new         40 MWp
                              electricity consumers – 200
                              Wp each
Production applications       5% of new consumers –        2 MWp
                              2,000 systems of 1kWp
Hybrid systems (with diesel 500 systems @ 20 kVA (a) 6 MWp
generators, etc. for the       50 systems @ 40 kVA
Northern region of Brazil)    with a 50% participation of
                              photovoltaic panels
                              TOTAL estimated demand: 63 MWp
(*) Wp: rated peak watt              (**) MWp: rated peak megawatt
(***) kWp: kilo rated peak watt      (a) kVA: kilovolts amps.

Moss showed that the northern region holds the best prospects for solar energy in Brazil
(43.3%), followed by the northeastern states (20.5%). The northeastern state of Bahia,
for example, has about 450,000 domiciles lacking electricity and is the largest rural state
in Brazil with about 80,000 domiciles distant 18 km from the nearest power grid.

Sérgio Beninca, Commercial Manager of PV manufacturer Kyocera, who was also
present in this seminar, indicated that the Bahia power utility Coelba plans to install
about 18,000 new PV systems in the next two years. Beninca also noted that in addition
to the Light for All Program, the telecommunication segment (especially for the
installation of antennas) is the second largest potential market for solar energy in Brazil.
Another speaker at this seminar, Luiz Antônio Santos, Executive Energy Secretary of the
Bahia State, noted that there are about 35,000 solar systems installed in Bahia under the
Prodeem program, but he said that the power utilities still resist using renewable energy
sources due to higher costs. They tend to prefer the conventional power transmission
lines. Santos further commented that its Energy Secretariat will revamp the Prodeem
program to provide maintenance to the solar systems already installed.

Hamilton Moss of CRESESB cited the following limitations for a wider use of PV’s in

   •   The electricity generated out of PVs is limited, thus requiring rigid consumption
   •   Initial capital investment is high;
   •   PV batteries need to be replaced every two to six years;
   •   And finally, PVs are not manufactured in Brazil. (Note: CRESESB’s figures
       showed that from 1997 through 2005, Brazil imported US$15.6 million worth of

To reduce the impact of PV importation, the Brazilian government exempts PVs from
some taxes (ad valorem, excise tax), but the average import duty for PV and solar cells
remains at 15%.

Moss said that Brazil dominates solar energy project design, PV installation and
maintenance, and the manufacturing of solar modules and solar cells. On the other hand,
he mentioned some challenges that need to be overcome for a successful dissemination of
solar energy in Brazil, among which are:

   •   A closer community involvement in the installation of PVs (the Brazilian
       government and the power utilities need to provide community with technical
       training and information on PVs)
   •   A decentralized management program must be in place to facilitate maintenance,
       procurement, etc.
   •   Additional financing lines and R&D funds must be available

U.S. companies interested in Brazil’s renewable energy sector are encouraged to
participate in the U.S. Commercial Service Brazil’s energy industry webpage to be
launched in 2006. Companies may disseminate their product information in Portuguese
under the Featured U.S. Exporter (FUSE) program, for a fee of $200 for six months.

U.S. Commercial Service contact:

Regina Cunha
Senior Commercial Specialist
U.S. Consulate
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Phone: 55-21-3823-2416 fax: 55-21-2240-9738

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