The universalization of power supply services in Brazil was established by Act 10.438/2002, which determines that all distribution concessionaries have to provide services to all residents in their concession area. By the end of 2006 almost 1,5 million homes in the rural area had no access to power energy services mainly in the Northern and Northeastern regions (Electrobras, 2012).

Many of such homes are in difficult access areas far from electrical networks and with low population densities and often in environmental protection areas. Hence, regions where renewable energy technologies are the only options - or the less expensive options – for electricity.

The project studied in this paper uses photovoltaic cells besides also counting on mini-networks for power distribution, remote measurement of consumption, and invoicing with a prepayment system.

In total 12 mini plants were installed in the municipalities of Novo Airão, at the Metropolitan Region of Manaus; Autazes, Barcelos, Beruri, Eirunepê, and Maués. The plants were inaugurated in July 2011 and all of them are currently operational.

Approved by the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) the project is the only one currently in operation that uses renewable energy resources to be conducted by the Lighting for All program.




  1. Objective
  2. Target Group
  3. Output
  4. Key Features of the Case
  5. Sustainable Financing
  6. Supportive Policies and Institutional Environment
  7. Building Local Capacity and Skills
  8. Community Participation and Including Local Stakeholders
  9. Achieving Co-Benefits
  10. Affordability and Technical Issues
  11. Local Champions
  12. Monitoring and Evaluation
  13. Replicability and Scaling-up
  14. Contact
  15. References and Further Reading



  • Promote conditions to service isolated communities on a large scale.
  • Universalization of access to electricity in isolated communities by means of renewable energy.


Target Group

Isolated communities in the Amazon. The communities are located in areas with difficult access, low population density, environmental protection and far from the power grid.



This project benefits approximately 222 families in 12 isolated communities supplying energy 24 hours/day and providing around 40 kWh/month per household.

Source: Eletrobras Amazonas Energia, 2011.

    Communities information
 N  Municipality  Community  Number of consumers Power installed(KW)  Net Length(m)
 1  Autazes  São Sebastião do Rio Preto 13  10,80  250
 2  Barcelos  Terra Nova  24  16,20  735
3 Berun Nossa Senhora do Carmo 13 10,80 267
4 Eirunepé Mourão 20 13,50 1,196
5 Santo Antônio 15 10,80 720
6 Maués Nossa Senhora de Nazaré 15 10,80 631
7 Santa Luzia 22 16,20 320
8 Santa Maria 23 16,20 272
9 São José 17 13,50 380
10 Novo Airão Aracari 14 10,80 458
11 Bom Jesus do Puduari 27 18,90 460
12 Sobrado 19 13,50  240
     TOTAL  222  162,00  5929


Key Features of the Case

  • The target group is Amazon isolated communities.
  • Use of photovoltaic panels and mini-networks for power distribution.
  • Monitoring system and remote operation via Internet – Gesac Antenna[1].
  • Pioneer feature: Energy Purchase Prepaid System. The cost of 30 kWh is R$ 7 ≈ US$ 3,5 (Hoffmann, 2012).

[1] The Gesac program, coordinated by the Brazilian Ministry of Communications through the Department of Infrastructure for Digital Inclusion Program, offers internet connection via satellite aiming to promote digital inclusion throughout the Brazilian territory.


Sustainable Financing

The project's budget was R$ 6.6 million, 85 % funds from the Lighting for All program and 15% from the Eletrobras Amazonas Energia executor.

Previously, the communities were not supplied by the distributor using diesel-powered generators to meet their power needs. The supply in this case was restricted to opening hours of schools from 18 to 22h. Residents of communities received an amount of oil for free from municipalities, but they had to pay $ 25 on average beyond this free quota to meet their needs. Nowadays, consumers spend between $ 5.00 and $ 10 per month to keep the energy available during the 24 hours/day in their consumer units with the pre-payment system.


Supportive Policies and Institutional Environment

The project was conducted by the Lighting for All Program and it was approved by the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME). The Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency's (ANEEL) Normative Resolutions Nº 83 of 20/09/2004 published on 09/24/2004 and Nº 493 de 05/06/2012 published on 08/06/2012 establish procedures and conditions for the supply by means of micro-isolated electricity generation with intermittent sources and its distribution.


To learn more about the Lighting for All Program click the below link:




Building Local Capacity and Skills

Before the studied project was started two pilot projects were installed in 2005 in the Northern region of Brazil. These pilot projects were monitored in order to train the execution agents in their concession areas and to create public policies and rule proposals for rural electrification with renewable energies.

The main agents in charge for power access together with concessionaries has been developing, testing and improving sustainable models for rural electrification. Management and maintenance for single or distributed systems, the most critical point of this type of service, was the work focus. By implementing these pilot projects, local concessionaries acquired required knowledge for a wide replication of model and the capacity to spread it in its concession area.

These two pilot projects were:

1. Acre – this project has been set up together with Eletrobras Distribution Acre with support of the Government of the State of Acre and the State Managing Committee for the National Program for Universal Access To and Use of Electric Power (Luz para Todos). The project uses home photovoltaic systems and will cover almost one hundred families living in spread areas – a common situation in several parts in the Amazon.

2. Pará – the second pilot project was set up in the state of Pará in a partnership with Celpa and will serve communities by decentralized generation of renewable energy sources with mini networks. In this case, technological options for generation was photovoltaic systems, eolic turbines, micro hydropower plants or groups-generators with engines adapted to the in natura vegetal oil fuel, as well as small thermal power plants for solid biomass in communities where waste offer is found.

Based on results of these two pilot projects proposals were prepared for policies and legislation and current ruling adaptation to electrification conditions in remote areas using renewable energy technologies. Such proposals were sent to competent authorities like Ministry of Mines and Energy and the National Agency of Electrical Energy.

Lessons learned in these pilot projects were used in the subsequent project. Installers had technical training and final users were trained as well. A user manual was developed and distributed.


Community Participation and Including Local Stakeholders

The project was developed by Eletrobras Amazonas Energia by means of the federal government's "Lighting for All" program and executed by the Guascor & Kyocera consortium.


Achieving Co-Benefits

The arrival of continuous electricity changes the reality of these communities. Continuous electricity supply improves the quality of life, access to information, education and economic growth.

The system eliminates the need for large transmission lines and eliminates the use of fossil fuels. 


Affordability and Technical Issues

The systems were designed with autonomy of two days without capturing sunlight. Moreover, it is modular, i.e. if there is an increase in demand for energy a new block generator can be installed in the generation system allowing the increase of electricity consumption caused by the development in the community.

The prepayment system works with consumers buying a code printed on a ticket. These codes are sold in the market near their home, which entitles them to 30 kW / h for R$ 7. The costumer then enters the code on the residential meter and begins to consume that amount contracted. Each resident received a small device (a display) that before reaching the end of the load triggers an audible alarm informing the consumer that the 'credits' are coming to an end.


Local Champions



Monitoring and Evaluation

In the two previous pilot projects installed in 2005 technical performance was monitored during a period of 18 months. A social and economic study analyzed the electrification impact on life quality and microregional development. Detailed reports of project development were sent to ANEEL explaining the repercussion of this project together with consumers, equipment performance and resulting advantages and disadvantages.

The monitoring consisted of the five components reported below:

1. Household photovoltaic system performance: It involves a comparative assessment of the performance of household photovoltaic system under a technical standpoint and from the point of view of the user aiming to improve the design and analyze the adequacy of current regulation requirements for utilities and rural reality.

2. Performance of service by the local utility: The effectiveness and efficiency of the management model adopted by local utility is assessed during and after the system is installed.

3. Financial assessment: It includes records and analyzes all revenue and expenditure of the project. This component aims to build the monitoring balance sheet and analyze it from the perspective of utility quantifying the costs involved in the system installation of the power supply service as well as billing and grants obtained from the photovoltaic systems.

4. Socioeconomic development of the beneficiaries: Survey identifying the socioeconomic impacts on the lives and expectations of the residents of the communities detecting changes in the consumer habits, productive activities, family income, education and health. This research also aims to detect changes in energy use for domestic and productive purposes.

5. Local market of home appliances and equipment: This includes research and analysis of the supply of efficient appliances and equipment at 12 VDC in local markets, availability, prices and quality of products. This analysis assists in identifying the need to stimulate it besides recording the natural development of this market.


Replicability and Scaling-up

The Ministry of Mining and Energy estimates that only in the Amazon almost 120,000 home photovoltaic systems and almost 3,000 mini networks with energy generation through renewable sources are necessary to cover 330,000 homes (Electrobras, 2012).



Raque Rocha

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Fabiana Fernandes

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CARLOS HOFFMANN Analista de Infraestrutura

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Tel: 0055 (61) 2032-5758


References and Further Reading

  • Hoffmann C., 2012. Light for all program. Workshop de geração eolica distribuida. 27 e 28 de agosto de 2012. Rio de Janeiro. Brasil.


Electricity generation for isolated communities in amazon region using mini photovoltaic plants with mini-networks and prepayment system






The implementer is Eletrobras Amazonas Energia. Eletrobras Amazonas Energia is a subsidiary of Eletrobras, the major Brazilian electric utilities company.


Raque Rocha

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fabiana Fernandes

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


CARLOS HOFFMANN Analista de Infraestrutura

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel: 0055 (61) 2032-5758


Solar PV

Energy resource:

  • Solar

Sub type:


    • Household


    • Electricity


    • Mini-Grid

    Targeted area:

    • Rural

    Geographical scope:


    Project status:

    Operational project

    Project start:


    End date:


    Implementing approach:

    Public private partnership

    Funding Type:

    • Grant

    Budget (Euro):