The university photovoltaic energy system sums 540 kW power and serves 1% of the total demand of the Cidade Universitária campus; that’s enough power for 3,200 households

For the first time, the University of São Paulo (USP) has 1% of its energy demand served by a photovoltaic panel system installed in the Cidade Universitária (University City) campus, in the city of São Paulo. The current structure, whose operations are governed by the university’s Institute of Energy and Environment (IEE), integrates four photovoltaic electric power substations that, altogether, sum 540 kW of power.

The power generated by panels goes into the campus underground grid, and is available for the entire Cidade Universitária. According to the Jornal da USP (USP Journal), the power currently generated by the system could supply 3,200 households (standard domiciles of four people with an average monthly consumption of 250 kWh).

Solar power integration to the utility grid of Cidade Universitária campus generates an annual economy estimated in BRL 305 thousand, equivalent to 1% of the university’s total spending with electric power in 2017: BRL 30 million – approximately 80 thousand MWh.

According to the master thesis of Mario Luiz Ferrari Pin, an IEE graduate student, the savings may be greater if there’s more investment in solar plants in the campus. The survey presented by Pin states that 14 buildings may receive photovoltaic module facilities, such as Crusp (USP Residential Complex) and the Faculty of Philosophy, Languages and Human Sciences (FFLCH) of the Department of History and Geography. The new plants could generate more than 3% of Cidade Universitária consumption – almost BRL 1 million a year.

Under financial crisis, USP has nearly 100 thousand students

The largest public university in Brazil, with more than 96 thousand students (about 59 thousand of them undergraduates), USP faces a severe economic crisis. The university budget for 2018 estimated a deficit of BRL 287 million – the fifth consecutive year the institution ends up in the red.

For 2019, USP had a BRL 5.7 billion budget – the university receives a quota-share of 5.02% from the State ICMS (Tax on Circulation of Goods and Services). For the year in question, the outlook is a surplus of BRL 206 thousand.

In addition to the student body of 96 thousand individuals, USP keeps 5.8 thousand professors and receives over 400 thousand visitors a year to its museums and parks.

Content published in March 20, 2019

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