Press release Desafio Solar Brasil 2009:


PRESS RELEASE – For immediate release



An innovative and completely eco-friendly motorboat race is about to take place in one of the most beautiful bays in the world. From the 16th to the 24th October, the bay of the historical town of Paraty, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, will host the Desafio Solar Brasil, the first solar boat race to take place in Brazil.

Organized by the Pólo Nautico of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), the Desafio Solar Brasil (Solar Challenge Brazil) will bring together nineteen teams from Brazilian universities and technical high schools. To take part, the teams had to design and build a small-sized boat powered by an electric motor connected to solar panels.

By gathering students and researchers from all over Brazil, the race hopes to stimulate exchange, discussion and research on the use of photovoltaic energy in Brazil, and in particular its use for boat propulsion. Photovoltaic energy production in the country, which relies mainly on hydroelectric power, is quasi inexistent. According to Walter Suemistu, PhD, Director of the Centre of Technology of UFRJ, which is sponsoring the event, “Brazil is behind in terms of research into solar panels and it’s a shame. We’re not making the most of the huge insolation and radiation we’re getting.” He adds, “Hopefully, the Desafio Solar Brasil should be a first step towards changing this.”

But also, the Desafio Solar will be an opportunity to bring solar photovoltaic energy closer to the public and show the local population of Paraty that it can have many different applications. During the event, children and teenagers from the town will have the opportunity to take part in workshops and interactive activities about solar energy.

UFRJ is currently collaborating with remote communities around Paraty to implement the use of solar panels to produce electricity and power fishing boats.

The Pólo Nautico will provide the solar panels to all nineteen teams and it built hulls for teams that do not have the facilities for it. The solar panels were purchased thanks to the support of the sponsor FINEP, a state-controlled company that aims to spur research and innovation. The Desafio Solar Brasil was also sponsored by the energy research centre CEPEL and the national bank Banco do Brasil.

The Desafio Solar Brasil was inspired by the Frisian Solar Challenge, the Dutch solar boat race. In 2008 the Copacabana, built by the Pólo Nautico of UFRJ, took part in the race and came fourth of class A.

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For more information please visit the website of the Desafio Solar Brasil:

For pictures please see this page:

Or alternatively, please contact Juliette Savin at or +55 21 – 9657-7776