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Brazil Starts Storing Solar Energy On a Large Scale 10 Years Late

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One generating company began using a giant battery to store solar energy in large scale in Uberlandia (MG), in the first project of the type in operation in Brazil. This first step, however, comes with at least ten years of delay compared to countries like USA, Germany, Australia and Japan, among others.

The rechargeable lithium-ion battery has 3 by 12 meters and the capacity to store 1,360 kilowatts (1.36 megawatts) of solar photovoltaic energy, enough to supply 170 homes for a whole day. If all this energy stored during a sunny day was injected into the electricity grid only during peak consumption hours, between 6:00 pm and 9:00 p.m., it would be possible to serve twice as many houses: 340 in all.

The battery was imported from China, since Brazil does not have the technology to manufacture such equipment with such large storage capacity.

The system, which came into operation at the end of February, is part of a research and development project that absorbed R $ 22.7 million in investments, of which R $ 17.5 million was contributed by Cemig and R $ 5, 2 million euros for Alsol , the project’s founder and executor.

According to Gustavo Malagoni, president of Alsol, there can be an economy of at least 15% per month in the price of kilowatt hours.
Systems like this one that came on stream for the first time in the country allow to alleviate the overload in the distribution network, with benefits for the environment, because many diesel generators are no longer connected, and for consumers, because tariff prices also will fall, said the executive.

CPFL Energia has three similar projects in progress, in which R $ 60 million should be invested. Renato Povia, the company’s Innovation Manager, said that one of the batteries, with storage capacity of 1,000 kilowatts (1 megawatt), should be installed by December at the CPFL Renovaveis ​​wind farm in Rio Grande do Norte.

Two other batteries, which are still in the process of designing, are to be installed at the company’s energy substations in the Campinas region, also before the end of the year.

The project comes at a time of strong progress in the production of photovoltaic solar energy in the country. Large-scale storage battery prices fell more than 75% in the international market between 2010 and 2018, and the cost of generating this type of energy fell 83% in the same period, with repercussions in Brazil.

A study by the Energy Research Company (EPE) projects that the share of solar energy in the country’s electricity matrix is ​​expected to reach 10% by 2030. Today, not even 0.2% of all electricity produced in the country, gigawatts (165,000 megawatts). The country’s solar photovoltaic technical potential is estimated at 28,500 gigawatts (28,500,000 megawatts), more than 170 times the installed capacity of all sources of the Brazilian electrical matrix.

Rodrigo Saraiva, president of the Brazilian Association of Solar Photovoltaic Energy (Absolar), said that in the last energy auction in April last year, the megawatt-hour went for $ 35.25, compared to just over $ 80 a year ago.

According Saraiva the end of the year, the sector should invest R $ 5.2 billion in photovoltaic solar energy generation, with which the accumulated investments until 2022 will increase from R $ 20 billion.

Today, Brazil has about 50 thousand photovoltaic systems, including medium and large power plants. It’s just the beginning, considering that there are 84 million consumer units, the 50,000 systems compared to this universe is half a drop, he said.