Canadian Solar Solutions Inc. has donated 560 solar panels worth nearly $1 million to IDEAAS, the social entrepreneurship and REEEP partner organisation that is spreading renewable energy solutions to energy-poor consumers in Brazil. In the course of early 2012 the donated panels are slated to be installed in hospitals, schools, pumping stations and internet access points in the Amazonian region.
This supplements the efforts of Fabio Rosa, the founder of IDEAAS to target private households with hardware intended for community installations. Rosa’s business model which combines philanthropic and for-profit elements, has received much press attention recently, including articles in The Star and in the French magazine Decision Durables.
The IDEAAS model is designed for remote Brazilian communities with no grid connection, where the distances and the small number of customers make it less interesting for utilities to provide infrastructure. In these villages, poor consumers regularly spend the equivalent of $15 a month for kerosene, batteries and candles; a significant amount of money for people who might earn as little as $2 per day.
These customers sink a huge portion of their incomes into poor-quality energy, yet for the same $15 per month, IDEAAS can provide a household with the low-cost lease of a solar panel and battery for storage, several lights and a water pump. This can transform lives radically, allowing studying or other productive activities at night under CFL and LED lighting, as well as a steady flow of clean water that can even be used to irrigate cash crops.
Over the past two decades, the IDEAAS model has provided more than one million Brazilians with access to electricity. In addition to its existing commercial entity Isto e Claro (IEC) which earns money on the sales and service of equipment such as batteries, IDEAAS is also currently in the process of setting up a second subsidiary with REEEP funding: Companhia de Energia renovation of Amazonas (Cera), a company which will bring power to some 2700 people in company-owned, isolated areas of the Amazon region.