The National Electrical Power Agency (ANEEL), by means of Normative Resolution nr. 482, dated April 17, 2012, has established the general conditions for micro-generation and mini-generation plants to access and supply the electrical energy distribution grids, and has also established the system for electrical energy remuneration.

The new regulations establish that the electrical energy originating from micro-generators (those with an installed potential of up to 100kW) and mini-generators (with an installed potential of between 100kW and 1 MW) can be inserted into the local distribution grid and be remunerated for the electrical energy effectively consumed by the generator itself. This system of bi-directional measurement is internationally known as net metering, and is one of the means utilized to encourage the use of renewable energy sources.

Within this system, the electrical energy produced at the generation plant may be inserted into the distributor's network and, as part of an exchange system, the amount of energy produced by the generating unit will be discounted from the total amount consumed, respecting the seasonal-hourly rates. Should the amount generated be greater than that effectively consumed by the generator, the distributor will make credit available corresponding to the excess amount and this will be compensated as part of the generator's subsequent bills. This credit should be used within 36 months.

This new system is valid for generators which use incentivized sources of electrical power generation (qualified hydraulic, solar, biomass, wind or co-generation) connected to the distribution grid by means of installations with the end users.

Another factor of note is the possibility of individuals with more than one property registered in their name, public organs or companies with branches that opt to participate in the remuneration system, being able to use any excess energy produced to reduce the bill on their other unit or property, as long as the two are served by the same central generation distributor and other legal arrangements are observed.

Counting from the resolution's date of publication, distributors will have 240 days to adapt their commercial systems and technical frameworks to meet the new guidelines. The consumer will be responsible for the necessary investments, including the meter which will record its generation and use, through until the connecting point with the grid. The distributor will, in turn, take responsibility for the structuring of the consumer's connection with the integrated grid.

This new regulation represents an enormous opportunity for business both for those interested in the manufacture of the components and accessories necessary for the micro-generation of electrical energy and for those looking for investment opportunities. It can also be seen as the first step towards the consolidation of the power generation distribution sector in Brazil, promoting better conditions for the efficient use of the electrical networks and the modernization of the country's energy matrix, whilst also addressing the environmental concerns raised over the generation of electricity.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.