By Jan Rocha / <a href="climatenewsnetwork.net/brazil-spurns-do-it-yourself-solar-power/">Climate News Network</a>
Source: Read full article at Truthdig
Cheap and simple do-it-yourself solar power sounds a good way to help poor communities. But try telling that to Brazil’s customs authority.
Since 2009, when the government of President Lula launched a national programme called Luz para Todos (Light for All), Brazil has extended electricity to almost all corners of this vast country. The extra costs of extending the grid to more distant regions has been spread among all users.
But 47 localities, with a total population of 3 million people, still remain unconnected to the national grid, most of them in small, remote communities in the Amazon.
They include the 300,000 or so residents of Boa Vista, capital of the northernmost state of Roraima, which gets most of its energy from a hydro-electric dam across the border in Venezuela.
Long haul for oil
But with that country experiencing increasing chaos, with frequent blackouts, the supply has become unstable. When the power goes down, expensive thermo-electric plants running on diesel oil must be used, the oil brought by road from Manaus, 750 kms (465 miles) south.
Although Roraima enjoys even more hours of sunshine and strong winds than the rest of Brazil,…