Tropical Brazil Is Finally Embracing Solar Housing

A Brazilian solar house Encouraging the increasingly important practice of sustainable development and construction in Brazil the Solar House project was inaugurated in Taguatinga (Federal District) last week in partnership with SENAI (the Brazilian Industrial Education Service) and CEPEL (the Electrical Energy Research Center of Brazil).

The building is being used as a demonstration of the practical viability of this energy source in a country with well-above average levels of sunshine.

The fundamental basis of the structure is formed of coatings of photovoltaic material which essentially use semiconductors to convert solar radiation into electricity.  The house has 65 square meters (700 square feet) of constructed space with a living area, bedroom, bathroom, hall and kitchen/balcony area. 

Visitors are able to see a range of day-to-day tasks in operation including water heating, lighting and a variety of other electric uses including refrigerators, televisions and DVD players. Fábio Lima, head technician of the project highlights the fact that “the house employs 100% clean energy” including rainwater reuse systems that are becoming increasingly popular in the Brazilian construction industry as well as 16 internal batteries that can store 3,000 watts for use in rainy or cloudy days, with the ability to last up to 48 hours at full capacity.

Besides the Federal District, the states of Maranhão, Paraná and Amazonas are also expected to have model structures set up. In the latter state, SENAI has a boat and mobile unit which will be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of solar power in remote parts of the country.

The project arises on the back of initiatives started by COHAB in the late 1990s in Minas Gerais – in March 2010, over 15,000 housing units were installed with solar water heaters throughout the state, which have an average electric energy consumption level of 150 kWh per month; a storage capacity of 200 liters and have the ability to reduce the power consumption of a household at between 30 and 40 percent with an average estimated saving of 80 reais (US$ 46) per household.

Minas Gerais and Distrito Federal are the two leading states possessing the highest amount of installed facilities, according to a market survey undertaken by Marca Solar on behalf of the national solar industry association ABRAVA, followed by Santa Catarina, São Paulo, Paraná, Mato Grosso do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul, Goiás, Mato Grosso and Rio de Janeiro. 

In July of this year, the first Minha Casa, Minha Vida (My House, My Life, a Brazilian government plan) project with solar installations in Campo Mourão, Paraná was approved by the Federal Government, representing an important step in the progress of solar energy’s use in the wider Brazilian housing industry.

Ruban Selvanayagam is a Brazil real estate and land specialist. For free e-books, state guides, up-to-date statistics, strategies, interviews, articles, weekly broadcasts and more please head to the Brazil Real Estate and Land Investment Guide via the following link: http://www.brazilinvestmentguide.com/brazil-property-real-estate-land/

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