Solar Energy

Solar energy in Rio de Janeiro

Building-installed solar energy systems have many benefits, including reducing GHG emissions, improving the resilience of the electricity grid, and reducing reliance on centrally generated power. Photo by marcusrg, licensed under creative commons.

The sun provides a practically inexhaustible and clean supply of energy, which has been used since ancient times. Many solar energy technologies are well developed, and capital costs for solar installations are falling.

Building-installed solar energy systems have many benefits, including reducing GHG emissions, improving the resilience of the electricity grid, and reducing reliance on centrally generated power.

The use of solar power is not widespread in Brazil, despite ideal weather conditions. Brazil has one of the highest solar incidences in the world – Rio de Janeiro receives solar radiation of 1.7 MW/m2 per annum (Meteonorm data), with direct normal irradiance of an average 5.18 kWh/m2 per day [1].

Every square meter exposed to the sun in Rio receives enough energy to run the average Brazilian shower for more than an hour per day. Despite this, most homes still use electric showers.

There are many solar energy applications which are technically possible in Rio. These include:

  • Solar thermal systems which generate hot water (for washing)
  • Solar photovoltaic systems, which generate electrical power
  • Concentrated solar power systems, which can generate electrical power or hot water/steam
  • Solar cooling systems, which use hot water (generated by one of the above methods) to provide power for a suitable absorption or adsorption chiller

Solar Energy in Rio: Resources in this Toolkit

The following articles provide technical and economic data regarding solar technologies that are technically feasible in Rio de Janeiro.

Solar Energy in Rio: External Resources

References

  1. “SWERA | maps.nrel.gov.” [Online]. Available here [Accessed: 28-Sep-2012]