Solar Energy Useless Without Good Batteries in Brazils Amazon Jungle — Global Issues read full article at

Photo voltaic panels with a capability to generate 30 kilowatts not work within the Darora Group of the Macuxi individuals, an indigenous group from Roraima, a state within the far north of Brazil. The batteries solely labored for a month earlier than they had been broken as a result of they might not stand up to the cost. CREDIT: Boa Vista Metropolis Corridor
  • by Mario Osava (boa vista, brazil)
  • Inter Press Service

The Darora Group of the Macuxi indigenous individuals illustrates the wrestle for electrical energy by cities and remoted villages within the Amazon rainforest. Most get it from turbines that run on diesel, a gasoline that’s polluting and costly since it’s transported from distant, by boats that journey on rivers for days.

Positioned 88 kilometers from town of Boa Vista, capital of the state of Roraima, within the far north of Brazil, Darora celebrated the inauguration of its solar energy plant, put in by the municipal authorities, in March 2017. It represented modernity within the type of a clear, steady supply of power.

A 600-meter community of poles and cables made it doable to mild up the “center” of the group and to distribute electrical energy to its 48 households.

However “it only lasted a month, the batteries broke down,” Tuxaua (chief) Lindomar da Silva Homero, 43, a college bus driver, informed IPS throughout a go to to the group. The village had to return to the noisy and unreliable diesel generator, which solely provides just a few hours of electrical energy a day.

Happily, about 4 months later, the Boa Vista electrical energy distribution firm laid its cables to Darora, making it a part of its grid.

“The solar panels were left here, useless. We want to reactivate them, it would be really good. We need more powerful batteries, like the ones they put in the bus terminal in Boa Vista,” stated Homero, referring to one of many many photo voltaic crops that town authorities put in within the capital.

Tuxaua (chief) Lindomar Homero of the Darora Community is calling for new adequate batteries to reactivate the solar power plant, because the electricity they receive from the national grid is too expensive for the local indigenous people. Behind him stands his predecessor, former tuxaua Jesus Mota. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS Tuxaua (chief) Lindomar Homero of the Darora Group is asking for brand spanking new satisfactory batteries to reactivate the solar energy plant, as a result of the electrical energy they obtain from the nationwide grid is just too costly for the native indigenous individuals. Behind him stands his predecessor, former tuxaua Jesus Mota. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

Costly power

However indigenous individuals can’t afford the electrical energy from the distributor Roraima Energía, he stated. On common, every household pays between 100 and 150 reais (20 to 30 {dollars}) a month, he estimated.

Apart from, there are disagreeable surprises. “My November bill climbed to 649 reais” (130 {dollars}), with none clarification,” Homero complained. The solar energy was free.

“If you don’t pay, they cut off your power,” said Mota, who was tuxaua from 1990 to 2020.”In addition, the electricity from the grid fails a lot,” which is why the equipment is damaged.

Apart from the unreliable supply and frequent blackouts, there is not enough energy for the irrigation of agriculture, the community’s main source of income. “We will do it with diesel pumps, nevertheless it’s costly; promoting watermelons on the present worth doesn’t cowl the associated fee,” he said.

“In 2022, it rained a lot, but there are dry summers that require irrigation for our corn, bean, squash, potato, and cassava crops. The energy we receive is not enough to operate the pump,” said Mota.

A photograph of the three water tanks within the village of Darora, one in every of which holds water that's made potable by chemical remedy. The most important and longest constructing is the secondary college that serves the Macuxi indigenous group that lives in Roraima, in northern Brazil. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS A photo of the three water tanks in the village of Darora, one of which holds water that is made potable by chemical treatment. The largest and longest building is the secondary school that serves the Macuxi indigenous community that lives in Roraima, in northern Brazil. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

Achilles’ heel

Batteries still apparently limit the efficiency of solar energy in isolated or autonomous off-grid systems, with which the government and various private initiatives are attempting to make the supply of electricity universal and replace diesel generators.

Homero said that some of the Darora families who live outside the “middle” of the village and have solar panels also had problems with the batteries.

Besides the 48 families in the village “center” there are 18 rural families, bringing the community’s total population to 265.

A solar plant was also installed in another community made up of 22 indigenous families of the Warao people, immigrants from Venezuela, called Warao a Janoko, 30 kilometers from Boa Vista.

But of the plant’s eight batteries, two have already stopped working after only a few months of use. And electricity is only guaranteed until 8:00 p.m.

“Batteries have gotten a lot better in the last decade, but they are still the weak link in solar power,” Aurelio Souza, a consultant who specializes in this question, told IPS from the city of São Paulo. “Poor sizing and the low quality of electronic charging control equipment aggravate this situation and reduce the useful life of the batteries.”

The low high quality of the electrical energy provided to Darora is as a result of discrimination suffered by indigenous individuals, in accordance with Adélia Augusto da Silva. The water they used to drink was additionally soiled and prompted diseases, particularly in youngsters, till the indigenous well being service started to chemically deal with their ingesting water. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS The low quality of the electricity supplied to Darora is due to the discrimination suffered by indigenous people, according to Adélia Augusto da Silva. The water they used to drink was also dirty and caused illnesses, especially in children, until the indigenous health service began to chemically treat their drinking water. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

In Brazil’s Amazon jungle, close to a million people live without electricity, according to the Institute of Energy and the Environment, a non-governmental organization based in São Paulo. More precisely, its 2019 study identified 990,103 people in that situation.

Another three million inhabitants of the region, including the 650,000 people in Roraima, are outside the National Interconnected Electricity System. Their energy therefore depends mostly on diesel fuel transported from other regions, at a cost that affects all Brazilians.

The government decided to subsidize this fossil fuel so that the cost of electricity is not prohibitive in the Amazon region.

This subsidy is paid by other consumers, which contributes to making Brazilian electricity one of the most expensive in the world, despite the low cost of its main source, hydropower, which accounts for about 60 of the country’s electricity.

Solar energy became a viable alternative as the parts became cheaper. Initiatives to bring electricity to remote communities and reduce diesel consumption mushroomed.

But in remote plants outside the reach of the grid, good batteries are needed to store energy for the nighttime hours.

Part of the so-called "downtown" in Darora, which has lamp posts, houses, a soccer field and a shed where the community meets. A larger community center is needed, says  the leader of the Macuxi village located near Boa Vista, the capital of the northern Brazilian state of Roraima. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS A part of the so-called “downtown” in Darora, which has lamp posts, houses, a soccer field and a shed where the community meets. A larger community center is needed, says
the leader of the Macuxi village located near Boa Vista, the capital of the northern Brazilian state of Roraima. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

A unique case

Darora is not a typical case. It is part of the municipality of Boa Vista, which has a population of 437,000 inhabitants and good resources, it is close to a paved road and is within a savannah ecosystem called “lavrado”.

It is at the southern end of the São Marcos indigenous territory, where many Macuxi indigenous people live but fewer than in Raposa Serra do Sol, Roraima’s other large native reserve. According to the Special Secretariat for Indigenous Health (Sesai), there were 33,603 Macuxi Indians living in Roraima in 2014.

The Macuxi people also live in the neighboring country of Guyana, where there are a similar number to that of Roraima. Their language is part of the Karib family.

Although there are no large forests in the surrounding area, Darora takes its name from a tree, which offers “very resistant wood that is good for building houses,” Homero explained.

The community emerged in 1944, founded by a patriarch who lived to be 93 years old and attracted other Macuxi people to the area.

The progress they have made especially stands out in the secondary school in the village “middle”, which currently has 89 students and 32 employees, “all from Darora, besides for 3 academics from exterior,” Homero said proudly.

A new, larger elementary and middle school for students in the first to ninth grades was built a few years ago about 500 meters from the community.

Water used to be a serious problem. “We drank dirty, red water, children died of diarrhea. But now we have good, treated water,” said Adélia da Silva.

“We dug three artesian wells, but the water was useless, it was salty. The solution was brought by a Sesai technician, who used a chemical substance to make the water from the lagoon drinkable,” Homero said.

The community has three elevated water tanks, two for water used for bathing and cleaning and one for drinking water. There are no more health problems caused by water, the tuxaua said.

His current concern is to find new sources of income for the community. Tourism is one alternative. “We have the Tacutu river beach 300 meters away, great fruit production, handicrafts and typical local gastronomy based on corn and cassava,” he said, listing attractions for visitors.

© Inter Press Service (2023) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service


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