Total savings :This project will not be CDM or Gold Standard-certified
Technology transfer :Agrophotovoltaic system (33 kWp) via community garden
Local environment :electricity from renewable energy, safe drinking water supply, efficient small-scale irrigation of an approx. 0.7 hectare community area and family allotments with agroforestry systems, use of wastewater from fish farming for biological fertilization.
Further advantages :lower electricity costs, resumption of crop cultivation and agricultural activities, biological fertilization, reduction of erosion in the Caatinga through reforestation, Food security, research of cycle-based technologies
Project partners :Centro Cultural Brasil-Alemanha (CCBA), Alumni of CCBA, Fundação Nacional do Índio (Funai), Federal Rural University of Pernambuco in Serra Talhada and Prof. Dr. Heitor Scalambrini Costa

The growing challenges posed by climate change

The village of Aldeia Serrote dos Campos of the indigenous Pankará people is located in the state of Pernambuco in north-eastern Brazil. The semi-arid region is affected by the consequences of climate change in many ways. Rising temperatures, water scarcity, desertification, as well as lower crop yields pose growing challenges for the indigenous Pankará. In addition, the local vegetation, the caatinga biome, is overexploited and thinned out by goat and cattle ranching. This further complicates the cultivation of crops on the nutrient-poor and dry soils.

The situation before the start of the project

For some time now, water has been supplied from the São Francisco River, 7 km away, to the drinking water treatment plant in the village through a pump. So far, only the drinking water demand could be pumped, as the pump could only be operated for 4 hours a day due to the high energy costs. Agricultural irrigation could not be guaranteed. The project offers the Pankará new possibilities to counteract these difficulties.

Safe drinking water supply and vegetable cultivation through a solar-powered water pump in combination with agrophotovoltaics in the village of the indigenous Pankará people

In December 2020, with the help of our project partner Centro Cultural Brasil-Alemanha and the support of atmosfair, the inhabitants of the indigenous village of the Pankará from northeastern Brazil installed a 33 kWp solar system over a planned 400 m² community garden. The photovoltaic system primarily serves to provide a safe and renewable power supply for the continuous operation of the pump, which supplies the approx. 150 families of the village, as well as providing an additional supply of untreated water on the approx. 0.7 hectare project site.

The photovoltaic modules of the PV system are located at a height of 3 metres with distances of 50 cm. The resulting reduction in the intense solar radiation that prevails in northeastern Brazil has now made it possible to resume the cultivation of various local vegetables and also traditional medicinal plants and seedlings for the reforestation of the caatinga. In addition to providing an affordable and clean electricity supply, this project supports the adaptation of the village community to the changed local conditions caused by climate change.

Expansion of the project and new ideas

In the spirit of a natural cycle, an aquaculture facility was also set up. The water and waste water of the fish from six tanks, which has to be renewed weekly, is used to irrigate and fertilise fruit trees. In addition, an aquaponics system for efficient vegetable and herb cultivation is under construction. The possibility of using water from the river for small-scale irrigation has become a reality through the PV system, and the yields from the aquaponics system and the community garden can improve the food security of the village community in the future and become another source of income.
In a composting plant, coconut shells are also processed into compost by a solar-powered shredder, which is returned to the soil as a natural fertiliser. In addition, trials are planned with the extraction of biochar from these coconut shells in cooperation with the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco.

The Pankará are actively involved in the implementation of the project. In joint meetings in the school of the village and in the CCBA in Recife, they helped to shape the project and especially the young indigenous inhabitants were trained in the subject. The two young engineers Rafaella Brás and Suely Ferraz, as well as Christoph Ostendorf from the CCBA, actively support the project development and implementation. Atmosfair is covering 89% of the total costs for the procurement of materials and the construction of the PV system.

Our partner

Our project partner, the Centro Cultural Brasil-Alemanha, is a German-Brazilian cultural centre from Recife and was founded in 1990. It develops projects in various fields to strengthen the environmental awareness of the local population and to promote ecological family farming with alternative energies with partners from Brazil and Germany. The director Christoph Ostendorf is in charge of project development and implementation and of training the local villagers. The most important partner is the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco in Serra Talhada. The local professor of agronomy, Prof. Dr. Genival Barros Júnior, supports the two engineers, Rafaella Brás and Suely Ferraz, both graduates of the university in Serra Talhada, for whom the project is their first major professional challenge.

Your contact at atmosfair

David Grüttner
Project Manager
+49 30 1208480 - 77