By Shalina Chatlani, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) on the Ilha do Fundão (Isle of Foundation) began using a solar panel station today that had been installed in the campus parking lot. The Green Fund at UFRJ, a environment-friendly energy initiative, helped provide resources for this sustainable development project, which will be able to generate enough energy for seventy homes.
In fact, the 414 solar panels, a project that totaled R$1.6 million in investment, will provide the majority of the campus’s energy need and has the capacity to generate 140 million kilowatts per year. Moreover, the solar panels will be able to prevent up to seventy tons of CO2 emissions towards the atmosphere per year. The Green Fund used the money that would have otherwise been paid to the ICMS tax on the university’s electricity bill to fund the program.
Suzana Kahn, the executive coordinator at the Green Fund and vice-president of the mitigation group at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations, claims that places like Brazil are an ideal location for sustainable development programs, especially with solar energy, because of the tropical environment.
Kahn explained that the country’s hydroelectric potential is no longer enough to satisfy the high demand of electricity in the country. Together with the impact the large-space hydroelectric dams can have and the obvious impact of nuclear energy, sun and wind power are the way to go forward, as both options preserve the nation’s biodiversity.
The Green Fund hopes that the solar panel project will encourage other cities throughout the country to begin taking up sustainable development initiatives. According to Kahn, Brazilian cities, with their large spaces, can easily be covered with solar panels.
The initiative plans on transforming the entire campus by developing more green programs with other forms of renewable energy.