São Raimundo community installs solar panels with the income generated by managing arapaima

The arrival of solar plants will produce clean energy 24 hours a day, replacing fuel-powered generators.

By Karina Pinheiro and Clara Machado

Solar panels installed in São Raimundo community. Photo: Maria Cunha

The residents of the São Raimundo community, in the Mid-Juruá Extractive Reserve, located in the municipality of Carauari (AM), installed solar panels using the income generated by the community’s management of arapaima.

The AMECSARA (Association of Residents of the São Raimundo Community) and the São Raimundo community itself were responsible for the planning and installation of the Solar Power Plants, in partnership with the Carauari City Hall, ASPROC (Association of Rural Producers of Carauari), ICMBio (Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation), Portal Brasil, and Concretize Engenharia.

The installation of the solar power plant was long awaited by the residents, who now have 24-hour access to energy, which previously was not possible. Before this, they only had 3 hours of electricity during the day, generated by a fuel-powered generator, which had to be purchased by the community.

According to the technician in charge of the installation, Manoel Cunha Filho, the implementation of the solar plant will generate 43.35 kW/h. The system relies on battery autonomy to store 55.3 kW/h of energy. “Today, the community consumes 104 kW/h. It is worth highlighting that we are supplying (the power) through clean, sustainable energy to 42 homes”, says Manoel.

Solar panels inverters installed in São Raimundo community. Photo: Maria Cunha

José Maik is a resident of the community that has become a great example for the entire Amazon and says that “with this system we guarantee that people have access to solar energy and are able to live with better quality of life and access to opportunities, without having to spare a considerable amount of money from the monthly budget to buy fuel to have light for only 3 hours a day as it was in São Raimundo. Today we have 24-hour energy”.

Beyond the economic benefits, José Maik, emphasizes the importance of transitioning to solar energy in addressing the climate crises, whose effects are already felt. “The solar plant represents one of the main sustainable strategies for us to save electrical energy and reduce the environmental impact, as the community stops consuming and burning fossil fuel that pollutes the environment and contributes to global warming and climate changes”, concludes Maik.

The demand for solar power plants was presented by the São Raimundo community to ICMBio and AMECSARA after internally evaluating that the annual amount invested in  purchasing fuel for the power generators could be raised through the arapaima management and directed towards solar plants. The community made plans based on last year’s arapaima management. 

“The management of arapaima can provide to communities so much more than fish maintenance in the lakes and food security. The management can provide what it has provided for the São Raimundo Community: clean energy for 24 hours. This is the merit of an organized community and, mainly, the merit of the arapaima chain”, says Raimundo Nonato, president of AMECSARA.

The supply of clean and affordable energy through the income generated by conservation activity is a great example for other communities to initiate sustainable management of arapaima.

“It was a dream that we had, and it seemed so distant, but thanks to the arapaima chain, this dream is now a reality and serves as an example for other communities to achieve, just as São Raimundo did, a structure like this. This is what we want, for other communities to follow this example”, concludes Raimundo.

The community is now seeking partners to complete the payment of the costs incurred in the installation of the plant, which ended up exceeding the expected value for the installation of the panels and equipment.

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