Brazilian Paradise Island Gets Solar Powered

Fernando de Noronha is one of Brazil’s eco hot spots, famous for its breathtaking geography, surf and marine life. The archipelago lies 220 miles off Rio Grande do Norte state and is a UN World Heritage Site.

An agreement signed on December 26 will bring solar power to the island in 2012, thanks to a new partnership between Grupo Neoenergia and utility company Companhia Energética de Pernambuco (Celpe), under the supervision f the Brazilian Navy. The agreement will see the installation of solar panels to generate grid-connected photovoltaic energy. The project’s budget is US$2.7 million.

“We would like to stimulate the development and application of this new technology on the island and contribute to the preservation of its environment”, said Neoenergia’s president Marcelo Corrêa. When finished, the solar energy system will be able to supply 60 percent of the island’s energy demands, or 600 MWh per year.

Industry specialists will be monitoring the energy generation process closely during the first year in order to identify possible shortcomings that may require improvements. The PV solar panels will occupy an area of around 20,000 square feet on land that belongs to the Brazilian Navy.

Until now there has been only solar thermal energy on the island, providing hot water for inns and a dolphin research center.

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.

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