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abr 18, 2018
Innovation and technology

Brazilian startup looking to increase public access to renewable energy

The move toward renewable and clean sources of energy is underway all over the world. Resources such as sunlight, wind, rain and tides generate electricity that is efficient and sustainable, as well as reducing CO2 emissions in the process. While renewable energy technologies are becoming cheaper, in many countries, such as Brazil, it is still too expensive for many households to install their own sustainable energy system.

This is where Enercred comes in, an innovative new startup from the state of Minas Gerais which is looking to expand public access to renewable energy technology, by making the process more democratic. Enercred offers a subscription service, where customers can buy clean energy credits and switch their home energy consumption to renewable sources, without needing to invest in their own equipment.

Mini and micro power stations supply renewable electricity to the grid, and Enercred customers receive this clean electricity by purchasing credits, which are later discounted from their monthly utility bill.

Currently, Enercred is working with a client base of 23 in Minas Gerais and has began a pilot project in the neighboring state of Goiás. It is also expanding its power station in the town of Pedralva, Minas Gerais, so that it may meet the demand of 100 customers. The Enercred waiting list, as of February, is 255 names long.

The idea for Enercred came from its CEO, José Otávio, who, during a course at MIT, had his first contact with concept of community solar, by way of US company Solstice. Community solar seeks to make switching to renewable energy much easier, by giving people access to a shared solar farm without any upfront costs or the need to install any equipment. José Otávio and Enercred have now successfully pioneered this model in Brazil, and are hoping to go from strength to strength. 

Enercred’s proposal became viable in Brazil after the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency (ANEEL) signed a resolution to regulate shared electricity generation and facilitate micro and mini-generation of energy. “It was after the approval of the resolution that we began to see possibilities to innovate in the field of renewable energy," José Otávio told the Brazilian press in November.

Studies on Enercred’s model of shared generation of renewable energy began with José Otávio's time in the USA. “One week after learning about the system and understanding all of the steps of producing clean energy, ANEEL regulated the service in Brazil and I saw the opportunity to start a profitable business."