This study from 2006 published by Vitae Civilis analyses technical and financial alternatives to traditional water heating systems with a view to boost the development of new business models using solar thermal energy in residential, commercial and services sectors in South American countries.
In Brazil, regardless of the considerable solar potential, more than 82 percent of the installed capacity for electricity generation comes from hydroelectric power plants. The remainder 18 percent is generated by thermoelectric plants, from which 15.1 percent comes from fossil fuels and biomass and 2.9 percent from thermonuclear fuel.
The study analyses a hypothetical energy company (ESCO) which supplies hot water heated by solar systems in the commercial and residential markets. The prices offered by this company compete against the tariffs and prices currently practiced by electricity and gas companies in Brazil. The results have shown that solar systems offer a reasonable return on investment, up to 20%. Hence, solar water heaters are a valuable and competitive alternative, capable of replacing part of the electricity used for heating and therefore decreasing the environmental damages caused by fossil energy sources.
Author: Vitae Civilis
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