Italian utility company Enel has announced its subsidiary, Enel Green Power, will shortly commence construction of the largest solar power installation in South America — 292 megawatts. Located in Piauí in the state of Nova Olinda, the solar panel farm will cover 1,700 acres and will generate more than 600 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year, enough to power 300,000 Brazilian homes. It will eliminate up to 350,000 tons of carbon dioxide being spewed into the atmosphere every year.
Enel was the winner of a solar energy auction in August, 2015. Before the auction, governor Wellington Dias traveled to Italy and Germany to learn more about solar energy products and encourage businesses to participate in the auction process. “This initiative is part of our project to work hard and produce what Brazil needs: energy, food, good services and generate jobs and income, making the economy grow. Piauí is ready for this task and we are working to increase investments and generate employment and income for the population,” Dias says.
Enel’s manager for Brazil, Carlo Zorzoli, points out that the company intends to continue investing in the Brazil’s energy sector. “The Brazilian government has developed an attractive and well-structured auction process and we have built our success based on market leading technology, excellence in financing and reputation,” says Zorzoli.
Brazil is blessed with abundant sunshine, making it an ideal location for solar power installations such as this. The country also has excellent opportunities for wind power. Combined, the country is in a position to be one of the renewable energy leaders among all South American nations. Solar energy has a tremendous advantage over conventional electricity generated by fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. If can provide critically needed energy to areas where no established grid infrastructure exists, enabling income and employment opportunities for underemployed Brazilians without the expense of building large transmission infrastructure. Energy is the key to lifting people out of poverty. Solar energy does that without poisoning the people it is meant to serve.