Published: 02/03/2006 - Updated: 09/15/2018
Converting sunlight into electricity is still a too expensive alternative that would be desirable to spread, using it to heat water is an advantageous solution that expands in many countries and can gain strong momentum in Brazil.
Two initiatives by environmentalists and interested companies are as levers of solar water heaters in Brazil.
The proposal, made five months ago by Vitae Civilis NGO, and approved by the City Clerk of Green and Environment of Sao Paulo, was inspired by a measure adopted in Barcelona in 2000.
The implementation of the plan that became more greatly increase the amount of water heaters of this type in three years in Barcelona and its impact example in Spain, has deployed IPS Delci Rodrigues, energy expert of Vitae Civilis.
Something similar may occur more strongly in Brazil, since Sao Paulo is its largest city with 11 million inhabitants, and exerts strong influence over the whole country with a population of 187 million people, as its main economic hub, he noted.
A project in Belo Horizonte, the state capital of western state of Minas Gerais, opens horizons to other thermal energy, opening a new business model. An Olympic Village, sports center and school, the local Catholic University will have pool water and baths heated by the sun.
But the local electric company, power plant in Minas Gerais (Cemig), will be responsible for the cost of implementing the system, charging for the service of providing hot water, naturally at a price much lower than the electric energy.
It is important to open alternatives such as a major obstacle to the dissemination of solar heaters is the relatively high initial investment, equivalent to about $ 600 for a family of four, for example, while you can buy electricity at a little over $ 10.
In two to three years, however, the electricity savings will exceed the amount invested and the system can last 20 years or more, said Antonio Placidelli, marketing manager of Soletrol, leader in the production of heaters sites in Brazil.
Open forms of funding is therefore critical in the spread of the system, especially in Brazil where very high interest rates on bank loans, often exceeding 100 percent annually in real terms i.e. discounting inflation.
The alternative energy has a singular importance in Brazil, not only for being a tropical country.
It took Brazil to service hot water in a bath solution stimulated by a past of cheap electricity generated in its many rivers.
The electrical hot water is in more than two thirds of Brazilian homes. Vitae Civilis estimates that, coupled with the accumulation of water heater (with tank) fewer, account for six to eight per cent of total electricity consumed in the country.
In addition, their consumption is concentrated between 18 and 21 hours, when its share rises to 18 percent of the total.
So even electricity distribution companies are interested to expand the use of solar water heaters. Lose energy sold, but save costs by reducing a larger demand in the peak, which requires an enormous waste.
Accordingly, Cemig adopted a policy of encouraging solar energy, promoting their installation in 100 buildings in Belo Horizonte and in a popular residential social project. Today this city of 2.4 million inhabitants is the capital of the thermal energy in Brazil, with a thousand buildings water heated by the sun.
Brazil developed its own technology and manufacturing of heaters in the last 30 years, lowering the team and even going to export them, according to the Brazilian Association of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, Ventilation and Heating (Abrava), which maintains a Department of solar water heaters (Dasol).
Today, Dasol has 25 industrial partners, all with their products certified by the state body for quality control.
Countries like Brazil, its neighbors in Latin America and the Caribbean are ideal to take advantage of solar energy, but still have low coverage in terms heaters, unlike nations with fewer hours of sunshine, as some Europeans. Israel, too, which is required to install the plates capture solar heat in all buildings.
Lack of a national program promoted by the government, promoting the advantages of the system and offering incentives are the worst, said to IPS Placidelli.
Rodrigues and other environmentalists propose the inclusion of this alternative in the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol, to generate certified emission reduction of greenhouse gases, which could earn income as additional stimulus to the spread of water heaters.