Solar Energy: Economic Growth and Environmental Protection for Brazil

Industry News

Evandro Roman, Rodrigo Sauaia and Ronaldo Koloszuk*

“As the Distributed Generation Bill 5,829/2019 passes through the lower house of Brazil’s Congress, the benefits from self-generated solar energy may be expanded to the whole country.”

To speed up the long-anticipated global shift towards clean energy, the leading world economies have been upgrading their government policies with increasingly robust and ambitious measures and stimulus packages. In Brazil’s case, an important step towards sustainable economic development has been taken with the approval of Bill 5,829/2019 by the lower house of Congress. The Bill creates a legal framework for self-generation of electricity from renewable sources such as solar power.

With the congressional blessing, a person’s right to generate and use their own clean and competitive electricity will be protected in Brazil. Self-generators will be able to play a greater role towards government policies for combating global warming and promoting the country’s social, economic and environmental development. Self-generation from, say, solar systems on rooftops or small private lands could bring in new investments totalling more than R$139 billion by 2050, as well as create more than 1 million new jobs in Brazil. This will help not only to alleviate the worrying climate and environmental situation, but also to lessen the social and economic impact stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic, which has left the planet shocked and scared.

The law that will allow self-generators to produce and consume their own electricity from clean and renewable sources is supported by 38 Brazilian representative bodies, including the National Confederation of Agriculture (CNA), the Brazilian Support Service for Micro and Small Businesses (Sebrae), the Brazilian Machinery and Equipment Industry Association (Abimaq), the National Confederation for Trading on Goods, Services and Tourism (CNC), and Proteste, the largest consumer protection organisation in South America.

The benefits from using this energy production model may exceed R$150 billion by 2050 just from reducing costs of fossil thermoelectric plants. These plants, by the way, are among the main causes of the recent increases in electricity tariffs as well as the energy industry’s main emitters of pollutants and greenhouse gases.

In the same timeframe, the country may save an additional R$23 billion in transmission and distribution of electricity generated in large power plants which are a great distance away from end users. Those two benefits together will result in an accumulated overall cost reduction of more than R$173 billion for Brazilian consumers by 2050.

By officially protecting a person’s right to self-generate and consume energy from clean and renewable sources, Bill 5.829/2019 –introduced by Rep. Silas Câmara and drafted by Rep. Lafayette de Andrada– also creates a framework of legal certainty and predictability for consumers and entrepreneurs.

The Bill derives from a major demand of the Brazilian people, who feel increasingly pressured by successive power tariff hikes and the dreaded red bands on the electricity bill, both of which directly impact household budgets and business competitiveness.

In the eight years to 2020, self-generation of solar energy forestalled the emission of more than 2.7 million tonnes of CO₂, amassed investments in excess of R$28 billion, and created more than 166,000 jobs throughout Brazil.

As the Distributed Generation Bill 5,829/2019 passes through the lower house of Congress and heads for a vote in the Senate, the benefits from self-generated solar energy may be expanded to the whole country. Once it is signed into law, it will help reduce the electricity bill for all Brazilians, provide more opportunities for employment and income, and support the efforts to tackle the climate crisis that threatens humanity on a global scale.

*Evandro Roman is a Patriotas member of the House of Representatives for the State of Paraná; Rodrigo Sauaia and Ronaldo Koloszuk are, respectively, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Absolar – the Brazilian Association of Photovoltaic Solar Energy.