cpflOn Tuesday, July 16, we visited CPFL Energia, a solar power plant in Campinas. This plant is the first of its kind in the state of Sao Paulo and in addition to generating and supplying their customers with power, the company also has a research department to develop new technologies with better efficiencies at lower prices. To complement their standard solar panels, the company has also installed ‘smart panels,’ which re-orient themselves regularly to maximize their photon intake efficiency.
Prior to coming here,I did not know such panels existed. I also learned how a solar plant is set up and how the energy is converted into a useful form. I believe these technologies are reasonably effective in Brazil as it is practical and is being used to power at least 657 customers from one plant alone. If this company seeks expansion, or other companies join the market, I believe solar energy could thrive in Brazil. ALthough the United States also exhibits solar energy, the main difference is its abundance. In the United States, only 12% of our energy consumption comes from renewable sources in comparison to Brazil, where 88% of the energy used is renewable ( Therefore, it is appropriate to speculate that Brazil has a larger quantity of solar power plants (and other alternative energy plants), when compared to the United States. This will be improved whenever the United States decides to invest more in alternative energy, so that small innovative businessmen can have the money to carry out their business plans, which is only a matter of time. This technology is already in the states, but if I were to change something, it would have to be marketing. If the panels were marketed better I believe that they would definitely sell more, as many large companies that have the money to make the initial investment would certainly do it if they were more aware of what they would be saving in the future. I did not find any policies that regulate these technologies, but I am certain laws will come about to either prevent monopolies or to have the whole system under government regulation when it becomes big enough. I speculate that solar energy will catch on as it is considered a long term monetary and environmental investment. In the same way that the panels are expensive to install, but practically generate energy for free, they also costly to the environment in production, but save the environment in the long run despite their initial dent. These days, the sole purpose of any business is to make money, and if the business sells a product that is also environmentally friendly, or cost-effective, it is only easier to market.


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