Legislation on feed-in tariff for solar electricity introduced in Brazil

Stadium from above

Picture: Coelba/Shirley Stolze

In 2001 Brazil suffered a grave electricity shortage. Until then the country had been mainly reliant on hydropower, but after several years of drought many reservoirs had dried up and the hydropower plants ground to a halt. Since then the Brazilian government has been striving to develop other sources of power and improve the energy mix. A project by the International Climate Initiative (ICI) is helping Brazil to set up decentralised photovoltaic systems and feed the electricity generated into the grid. By December 2012 the project reached a crucial stage: if solar electricity is produced by a lot of small installations, for example on the roofs of houses, there is a need for regulation to govern how the producer is reimbursed for the surplus electricity fed into the grid. Following a long advisory process involving the sharing of knowledge, the Brazilian government has now amended the legislation in order to introduce net metering. With this system the solar electricity generated is offset against the electricity that the owner of the installation takes from the grid. The ICI project, which is being implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and KfW, supported the consultation process with the relevant stakeholders, produced technical reports, organised study visits to Germany and advised policy-makers.

In addition the project is assisting Eletrosul, the state energy supplier, to focus public and government attention on electricity from solar power as an alternative to fossil fuel sources and to smooth the way for a sustainable expansion of solar energy in Brazil. Thus a large pilot photovoltaic plant with an output of over a megawatt is being installed on the roof and on the car parks of the Eletrosul building in Florianopolis. Further high-profile solar installations are at the planning stage; for example, the football stadiums for the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte are to be similarly equipped by 2014. The ICI project is advising Eletrosul on marketing solar electricity and is also helping other energy suppliers interested in introducing solar energy.