Own generation of solar energy (distributed generation) on roofs, facades and small plots can lower the electricity bill of Brazilians, including those who do not have their own solar system, by 5.6% by 2031, in addition to bringing in more than BRL 86.2 billion in systemic benefits to the electricity sector in the next decade (2022-2031), which corresponds to an annual average of R$ 10.3 billion. The cost of operating energy alone should reduce R$ 34 billion in ten years. The estimates are in the study “Contributions of own generation of solar energy in reducing the electricity bill of all Brazilians”, presented by the Brazilian Association of Photovoltaic Solar Energy (Absolar) and developed by the specialized consultancy Volt Robotics.
With 244.2 MW of installed power, Rio Grande do Norte is the 15th state in the ranking of those that generate the most energy (2.3% of Brazil), but it should benefit as much as the best placed states. The explanation, says Donato da Silva Filho, author of the study, is that local generations contribute directly to the national generation, since they relieve the large hydroelectric and thermoelectric plants. According to the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel), the country currently has 1,038,544 installations of its own generation of solar energy installed, a record 25.2% higher than last year.
“It’s a cost that is shared among all distributors, so this benefit is global. You can have, for example, a lot of solar panel, a lot of generation distributed in a region, and if that volume is enough to turn off a thermal plant, that thermal cost that was avoided will be shared among all. It is a charge shared among all companies in proportion to their consumption. Local installation brings a global benefit,” he comments.
The executive president of Absolar Rodrigo Sauaia adds that Rio Grande do Norte may have secondary benefits, with the national expansion of 238.18% of its own solar energy generation capacity projected until 2031. He believes that the State is in a position to develop campaigns to encourage the installation of solar energy systems.
“Rio Grande do Norte is currently the 15th in distributed generation. If these benefits were proportional, perhaps the RN would have less to gain than other states. In addition, we also have the locational benefits, which Law No. 14,300 (legal framework for the sector) provides that location be taken into account, so those states that are able to encourage the use of distributed generation the most will have more benefits. So, there is an opportunity here, in the sense of a positive race by the States”, he adds.
The result of the study, which pointed to a systemic gain of BRL 86.2 billion in the electricity sector over the next ten years (2022-2031), is the product of several other benefits: reduced energy costs (BRL 34 billion); reduction of the financial risk on the variation of fuels (R$ 22.4 billion); reduction of sector charges (R$ 11.5 billion); reduction in the price difference between the Northeast and Southeast submarkets (R$ 8.5 billion); reduction of electrical losses during transmission (R$ 8.2 billion); and a reduction in consumption at peak hours (R$ 1.6 billion), in addition to a reduction in the emission of polluting gases, as a result of the reduction in the activation of thermoelectric plants.
“We mapped these seven benefits of DG (distributed generation), the studies are under development, there is still more to be done, there is room for further progress. We are careful to use official public data so that everyone has the possibility to validate what we are saying”, highlights Donato.
Distributed generation will grow 238% in 10 years
According to the Ten Year Energy Expansion Plan (PDE 2031), which served as the basis for the study, distributed generation will jump from the current 11 gigawatts of installed power to approximately 37.2 GW in 2031, a growth of 238.18% . “Distributed generation” is the expression that specialists use to indicate an establishment – whether residential or commercial – that uses its own solar energy generation in conjunction with the conventional supply of energy (centralized distribution).
The PDE 2031 was prepared by the Energy Research Company (EPE) under the guidelines and support of teams from the Ministry of Mines and Energy, coordinated by the Secretariats of Energy Planning and Development (SPE/MME) and of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels ( SPG/MME).
“Distributed generation, on average, in average scenarios, contributes to reducing the electricity tariff by 5.6%. With each generating its own energy, the more expensive thermal plants do not need to be activated, the cost of energy decreases, consumer exposure, that risk of the price moving, decreases, charges decrease, the price difference between markets decreases, consumption at peak hours decreases”, says the specialist in the area Donato da Silva.
The study also brings the projection of a reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases, which in average scenarios reaches 67 million tons of CO2 by 2031. In the scenario of a new water crisis, with greater activation of more expensive and polluting thermoelectric plants, the reduction of greenhouse gases would be 121 million tons of CO2.
The data from the consultancy Volt Robotics focused on the calculation of the so-called “systemic benefits to the electricity sector” and does not include other socio-economic and environmental gains, such as attracting private investments, generating jobs, increasing income, increasing the power of purchase by the population and gains for the country’s sustainability.
Absolar defends ‘fair and balanced’ treatment
Another point of the study is the signaling of the role of public policies to make these future scenarios viable, without the need for the contribution of public resources, focusing on direct actions to be adopted within the scope of the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME), National Council of Energy Policy (CNPE) and National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel).
“Absolar and the photovoltaic solar sector work to ensure that their own generation of solar energy is treated in a fair and balanced way, as determined by Law No. means of a resolution to be published this year, from which Aneel will carry out the calculations, for later auditing of the company”, explains Rodrigo Sauaia, CEO of Absolar.
In Absolar’s view, the guidelines are strategic for the future of own generation of renewable energy in Brazil, which is fundamental for the country’s sustainable development. “Therefore, it is essential that the process of defining the rules has a deep reflection and is compatible with the scope and importance of the topic for Brazilian society”, comments Bárbara Rubim, vice president of distributed generation at Absolar.
Guilherme Susteras, coordinator of the work group on distributed generation at Absolar, emphasizes that the population and the National Congress are closely following this work. “The idea is precisely to guarantee that the own generation of renewable energy receives the correct treatment, adequate and consistent with the needs of the Country, in order to maximize the benefits that it can provide to all citizens”, he concludes.