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Real estate developments adhere to solar energy

Real estate players have been showing interest in the technology. One benefit is cost savings.

July 30, 2019Real Estate

Adherence to solar energy has grown dramatically in Latin America and is becoming an efficient means for real estate developments to reduce consumption costs and advance sustainability. Companies operating out of various real estate segments have already realized the benefits of generating one’s own energy.

Brazilian mall manager Multiplan, for example, has just inaugurated a project that makes Village Mall, in Rio de Janeiro, the first shopping center in Latin America to produce 100% of the energy it uses.

In an official note, the company explains that Village Mall’s solar power plant is located in the north of the state of Minas Gerais. This change is expected to allow for savings of more than 40 percent of the mall’s total use until then, the equivalent of R$5.5 million per year. The new system will prevent the emissions of 227,655 tons of carbon dioxide to the environment over 25 years of operations, equivalent to planting more than 418,000 trees.

“Sustainability has always been relevant to the mall, so much so that we have several actions in this direction, everything from sensors that reduce escalator speed when not in use and a rainwater reuse automation system to architectural design based on natural lighting,” says Gabriel Palumbo, Multiplan regional director.

With 25,440 photovoltaic modules, the complex covers an area of 240,000 square meters and will be equipped with tracking technology – a structure that follows sunray angle changes, thus enabling the greatest possible absorption of solar radiation. The project also has a 9.5-kilometer transmission line connected at 13.8 kilovolts (kV) and was designed to generate 17.520 gigavolts per hour (GWh) per year, sufficient to power about 9,700 homes.

Incursions of the residential segment

Developers are also investing in this type of technology on the residential market – as is the case of Mexican outfit Atlas Desarrollos.

Company CEO Arturo Correon Alonzo believes that the good financial result secured in 2018 – a growth of more than 30 percent compared to 2017 – is partly due to the installation of solar panels in a project, boosting the sales of the offered units.

The venture in question, Murano Residential, was launched in the second half of last year and, according to the developer, is Mexico’s first 100 percent sustainable solar power system in a residential complex with 450 medium standard houses in the city of Monterrey.

One of the strategies that was used to minimize the costs of installing the technology was a partnership with Enlight, a company specializing in solar energy. “What we did was negotiate the purchase [of the panels] in volume, install them in the homes, and transfer part of the costs to the buyers,” the executive told GRI Hub.

Growth of the market

In December 2017, an independent report released by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) addressed the potential of power generation through renewable sources. The data show that the installed solar capacity in the Latin American and Caribbean region rose significantly from 2012 to 2017, to 0.9 percent of total electric generation.

The study forecasts that, from 2016 to 2030, continental consumption would increase a cumulative 72 percent. The estimate also pointed out that Latin America would achieve a target share of renewable energy, including solar, of 80 percent of the total by 2030, nearly fourfold the initial share.

In Brazil, a survey carried out by the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea), which is linked to the Ministry of Economy, points out that between 2016 and 2018 there was major progress in the number of residential, commercial, and industrial establishments that started producing and consuming this clean and renewable source. Over the past two years, Ipea points out that the installed capacity of this type of energy has surged from 0.1% to 1.4% of the entire domestic energy matrix.

In Peru, aiming to encourage the real estate industry, with a special focus on sustainable projects, in May the Ministry of Housing, Construction, and Sanitation launched the Bono Green Mivivienda program, which funds 3 to 4 percent of the value of the property that meets the sustainability characteristics. The Peruvian administration’s goal is to encourage savings of up to 30 percent in water and power. It is estimated that such action will help increase real estate sales by 8 percent in Lima alone.

The IDB study points out that another country that has played an important role in advancing solar energy in the region is Chile, which in 2017 concentrated 55.8 percent of the total installed solar capacity in Latin America.

Real estate potential

Focusing on real estate development opportunities for the installation of photovoltaic panels, GRI Club Real Estate addressed the GRI Industrial & Logística Brazil 2019 theme.

At the meeting, Brasol CEO Ty Eldridge analyzed the Brazilian scenario and investment possibilities in the corporate, industrial & logistics real estate segments and in shopping malls. He says that in addition to making the project sustainable, using this type of source has several benefits, since the cost of energy is expected to rise exponentially over the next couple of decades.

To illustrate the content, Eldridge quoted cases from other markets, such as the headquarters of the Bloomberg news network in London (UK), which currently generates the power that energizes the entire building. Dedicated to the solar energy industry, Brasol operates in the commercial and industrial generation segments, supplying equipment and developing and implementing the projects. The company also provides funding lines for the acquisition, installation, and maintenance of photovoltaic panels.

GRI Residential & Offices Mexico 2019

Brazil GRI 2019

The future of the real estate market is back in focus in the GRI Residential & Offices Mexico 2019. Focused on residential and offices segments, the event will gather, on November 26 and 27, real estate market players to analyze the fundamental themes for the development of this industry. For more details, go to the event’s website.