Power costs, new law stoke Brazil’s solar market


Power generation from rooftop and small ground-based solar systems is booming in Brazil. (Photo by Abel Taveres)

Distributed solar power generation has boomed in Brazil in recent years as home and business owners have installed photovoltaic panels to escape fast-rising electric-utility charges caused by drought-induced declines in the country’s hydroelectric supplies. Experts forecast the sector will grow even faster, at least temporarily, with the implementation of a law addressing distributed solar, which is the small-scale production of solar power where it’s used—typically homes and businesses. The law, which took effect on Jan. 7, sets rules for the electric-power credits that those who operate rooftop or small ground-based solar systems receive for the surplus energy they send to the grid, a process known as net-metering. Falling dam-reservoir levels caused by consecutive years of drought have put a crimp in power supplies in Brazil, where hydroelectric plants account for 63% of installed power-generation capacity. Greater reliance on relatively costly... [Log in to read more]

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