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Boa Vista: the journey to a municipality with 100% clean energy

The city of Boa Vista, capital of Roraima, in the Brazilian Amazon, has become a national leader in the distribution of photovoltaic solar energy. The city also is a member from the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, the largest global alliance of cities and local governments voluntarily committed to the fight against climate changes and ensuring access to sustainable energy and affordable for everyone. In fact, Boa Vista was recognized by the GCoM with the Climate Adaptation medal for fulfilling its commitments assumed in 2017.

Currently with six projects developed in several buildings in the municipality and an expanded self – generation plant , the municipality expects to reach a total of 6.7 mega watts of installed capacity by the end of this year. It is estimated a reduction of 7.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions and savings of more than R $ 5 million in annual energy costs.

Its remote location, a thousand kilometers from the capital of the neighboring state, has direct implications for the supply of energy to Boa Vista. The state of Roraima is not connected to the national electricity grid in Brazil, due to its complexities, highcosts and environmental impacts for the construction of transmission lines for hundreds of kilometers in the middle of the Amazon rainforest.
The energy that moves life in Boa Vista comes from the neighboring country, Venezuela, since 2001. Aware of the risks that are implicit in this dependency, the mayor, Teresa Surita, identified solar energy as a key and viable technological solution to combine energy security and reduction of emissions in the municipality.

Enlightened experiences

The first experience took place with the Darora indigenous community, made up of 50 families. A small, 30-kilowatt plant was installed that supplies energy for public lighting throughout the area, with 20 LED light poles, which provide stable lighting. The area has now been integrated into the urban network.

The second phase involved the installation of solar panels in several municipal buildings, including the Teatro Municipal Boa Vista, the main bus terminal, the municipal market, the City Hall, the Department of the Environment and 72 air-conditioned bus stops fully supplied by solar panels. The first six projects totaling 1.7 MW of energy were self-financed by the municipality with an investment of R $ 4.9 million reais and an expected payback period of five years.

The existing projects already provide a monthly savings of R$ 115 thousand for the municipality , in addition to saving 1.7 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year that would otherwise be emitted by burning diesel .

But does not stop there. The project for the largest plant to date is still under construction, with 5 Mega Watts of capacity, which will be installed on a municipal land on the outskirts of the city. The plant, when in operation, will reduce 5.8 million tons of CO2 emissions per year and save up to five million reais per year for the municipality. The plant will generate 6,936,828 kWh annually, which represents 93% of the municipal government’s total energy demand. With this plant and the previous phases, the city will be the first Brazilian capital to have all municipal operations fully supplied by clean energy.

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