Brazil has one of the highest solar insolation levels in the world and is becoming one of the fastest growing solar energy markets with a capacity to supply energy to the neighboring countries. The coordinates of Brazil are 14.2° south and 15.92° west, receives an annual mean solar insolation of around 5.7 KWhr/m²/day which is quite higher than the average solar insolation of most of the European and the American countries.
The North East and the North West region of the country receives a good amount of the solar radiations. Although the Northern region is nearer to the equator but it receives lower solar insolation than the Southern region, because of the fact that it is adjoined to the Amazon region, which is covered with wide and strong clouds which cause heavy rainfall during the summer season, thereby reducing the solar intensity falling on the surface. The variation in the radiation intensity in summer and the winters is not much, please look at the solar radiation values in the 12 months of the year in the following chart:
The central region of Brazil receives higher solar radiations during the dry seasons of July, August and September marked with low relative humidity with clear days.
(1) Economic parameters of Brazil (2015 estimated)
Brazil is the largest economy in Latin America, the member of the BRIC countries and the 7th largest economy GDP wise ahead of India, Italy, and Australia.
(2) Energy sector in Brazil
Brazil is a country having higher proportion of electricity generation using clean energy and it has one of the healthiest clean energy matrices in the world. The main sources of the Brazilian electricity production are the Hydro-electric power, Ethanol, Biomass and wind energy. The main reasons that made Brazil to think of the alternative energy options are as following:
(3) Solar energy production
The main motivation, in addition to the good amount of the solar radiations, behind using the solar energy is the need of diversification of the energy resources apart from the traditional resources. There are around 200 solar companies in Brazil and around 80% of them are micro and small enterprises and are mostly concentrated in the south and the southeast region of the country.
Around 1 million systems are installed in Brazil, which are powering commercial and the residential sectors. The country does not manufacture solar cells but it imports them from the other countries. The various customs and duties along with the transportation cost add up the overall cost of the solar power system. The solar PV market is underdeveloped in Brazil. However, the Brazilian government has set a target of 8.7 GW of solar PV installations by 2024 under its 10-year energy plan. It plans to meet 13% of the total demand of electricity through solar power by 2050.
(4) Solar power auction in Brazil
The solar auction follows the Reverse price bidding process. The government of Brazil sets the ceiling price and the power producing companies bid for the lower prices at which they are willing to sell the solar electricity to the power distribution companies, which are further distributed to the retail customers. The average contract duration is of 20 years with at least 5 MW of production.
The energy auction winning projects are as follows:
(5) Incentives for the solar for the suppliers and the installers
The net metering facility allows the small scale solar power generators (<=5MW) to offset their grid electricity bills with the units of the solar electricity they provide to the electricity distribution companies. The several small solar generators can combine and avail the benefits as the single customer. Moreover, the solar credits can last up to 60 months.
(6)Feasibility of residential solar PV system in Brazil
The feasibility of the solar PV system depends on the intensity of solar radiations in that location. However, in addition to that, the costing of the system plays a crucial role in deciding the feasibility of the solar power system. Let us calculate feasibility of 1 kw solar PV system in Brazil
(7) SWOT analysis
Although, the solar energy sector is in the beginning stage in Brazil but it has enough potential to compete with leaders of the solar energy and has the ability reach the top position. There can be a great investing opportunity for the foreign investors, provided they have enough knowledge of its Government policies, legislation, and the Portuguese language. The solar power can be helpful to meet the peak demand of electricity in summers. Moreover, the solar electricity can be installed very much near to the demand site of electricity, thus reducing the transmission losses which otherwise are very much in a case of Hydro-electric transmission. The country is hosting 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro from August 5 to August 21 can be a good opportunity for Brazil to showcase its solar energy potential and can attract foreign investments in this sector.