Scaling-up solar energy for food sovereignty and production in riverbank families in the Amazon Delta

  • Project team:

    François, Davi Ezequiel (Project leader); Witold-Roger Poganietz

  • Funding:

    Honnold Foundation

  • Start date:


  • End date:


  • Project partners:

    Associação dos Trabalhadores Agroextrativistas da Ilha das Cinzas (Brazil); Embrapa Amapá (Brazil); Laboratório de Energias Renováveis da Universidade Federal do Amapá (Brazil); Center for Energy and Society at Arizona State University (USA)

  • Research group:

    Socio-Technical Energy Futures

Project description

This project will scale the sociotechnical expertise gained in the project “Solar energy for food sovereignty of riverbank families” to four island communities in the Brazilian Amazon Delta. These communities show no (sign of) self-organization and lack functioning renewable energy sources. The scaling up of solar installations for about 120 riverbank families will include knowledge transfer and capacity building, especially for women and young people, as well as strengthening local governance and economic production in a wider synergistic network for the region.

The project will be led by the Associação dos Trabalhadores Agroextrativistas da Ilha das Cinzas (ATAIC) in collaboration with local and international partners, including ITAS. Together with ATAIC and the project partners, the families of the four communities will be the main actors in this project.

These island communities, neighboring Ilha das Cinzas, subsist on forest and river resources, with some limited trade of these products. They lack access to electricity, basic sanitation, internet, and have limited access to safe drinking water, education and healthcare. ATAIC already has economic relations with these communities, such as in the production of oil from locally sourced forest nuts (e.g., murumuru, ucuúba), and has strong geographical, environmental, cultural, historical, and linguistic ties to them. To promote the socioeconomic development of the four communities and the community of Ilha das Cinzas, where ATAIC is based, the project will further strengthen economic and social networks, including production and supply chains.

The systems designed in the project “Solar energy for food sovereignty of riverbank families” will be replicated or, if necessary, redesigned according to the needs of each community. This will include solar home systems, water pumps, and solar-powered mixers. In addition, a prototype of a solar powered boat will be developed to provide clean and efficient transportation within the scattered island communities.

Since these communities are not yet self-organized (e.g., in associations or cooperatives), a key focus of the project will be to empower community members to organize and manage community-led projects. In addition, the communities will also develop technical skills to install and operate the solar systems, to strengthen productive chains, and to improve basic sanitation and access to potable water.

The Arizona State University and KIT research teams will work according to the applied research methodology already used in other community-based energy projects to introduce and promote the concept of the social value of energy in the four communities. This includes continuous dialogue with the communities and project partners with the goal of systematizing energy access and use to overcome local problems and challenges while maximizing the benefits of energy to the quality of life for the riverbank families.


Dr. Davi Ezequiel François
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-24675