Step-by-step guidance on owning your own photovoltaic installation

Photovoltaic installation in Brasil.

Photovoltaic installation in Brasil. Picture: Herminio Nunes / Eletrosul

Visitors to www.americadosol.org (external, Spanish) can enjoy free access to a solar simulator, which they can use to calculate the required capacity of their own photovoltaic installation, along with a manual providing 'step-by-step guidance on owning your own photovoltaic installation'.

Having attracted over 300,000 visitors in 2014, the internet platform is the most popular site for people interested in photovoltaics in the whole of Latin America. It is operated by Instituto Ideal, one of the Brazilian partners of the IKI solar pilot project in Florianópolis.

The International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Environment Ministry has been supporting the project since 2009. It is being implemented locally by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The project attracted considerable attention in June 2014 with the commissioning of Brazil's largest building-integrated photovoltaic installation in Florianópolis (link to report).

The Florianópolis solar project serves as an example of how to promote the use of solar energy in Brazil. Its staff are also working to improve the legal framework in the country. In addition, the advice provided by GIZ in relation to the regulatory framework has facilitated the implementation of Brazil's first small and medium-sized photovoltaic installations, a development that will have a lasting impact on the country. This has been made possible through an approach known as 'net metering', which allows solar energy fed into the grid to be offset against electricity consumption.

To publicise the use of this method and make it attractive to a greater number of operators, Instituto Ideal has developed the americadosol.org platform. Statistics indicate that the project has significantly boosted the Brazilian photovoltaic market: by the end of 2014, 310 small photovoltaic installations were connected to the grid in Brazil; 85% of these were installed in 2014 alone. Almost all these installations make use of net metering. Instituto Ideal's América do Sol project was honoured with the National Energy Globe Award Brazil 2014.