This is the village of Santa Helena do Inglês:

Santa Helena do Inglês, a village on the banks of the Negro River in Amazonas state, in the Brazilian Amazon. Image courtesy of Rodolfo Pongelupe/Fundação Amazônia Sustentável.

This village lies on the banks of the Negro River in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. It is one of 19 villages in the Negro River Sustainable Development Reserve, a protected rainforest area that is very remote. A remote area is far away from other towns and cities. Many of these rainforest villages can only be reached by a long boat ride along the river.

Setting up electricity is a challenge in remote rainforest villages. If electricity is available at all, it can be unreliable, which means that it does not work all of the time. So people can’t always power their appliances, such as the freezers they need to preserve food. Without a good source of electricity, it’s hard for the town’s businesses – like the grocery store and ecolodge – to support visitors that help bring money to the village.

Santa Helena do Inglês received a set of new solar panels in June 2021, as part of a new FAS pilot project that aims to bring reliable energy supply to the community. Image courtesy of Rodolfo Pongelupe/Fundação Amazônia Sustentável.

A Brazilian nonprofit group, the Foundation for Amazon Sustainability, helped the village of Santa Helena do Inglês solve its electricity problem. They helped install 132 solar panels and also batteries to store the power generated by the solar panels. The village now has a reliable electrical system. Fishers can safely store their fish in freezers and the village ecolodge can host tourists.

Solar projects like the one in Santa Helena do Inglês could potentially bring reliable electricity to around a million people in the Amazon. Another benefit of using solar energy in remote rainforest communities is that protected forest does not need to be cut down to install power lines from power generation facilities that are far away. 

Based on a story from