Solar thermal heaters for Brazilian low-income households

About the Project

The dominant technology for water heating in Brazil are electric boilers, which contribute by increasing fossil fuel usage in the last years to the global greenhouse effect and pose a high financial burden for low-income families. In the background of the UN Earth Summit 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian non-governmental organization Sociedade do Sol has developed a low-cost solar thermal system made of thermoplastic, of which already are installed and used about 10,000 units throughout South America. The system is made of well-known and widely available materials in a Do-It-Yourself fashion, works without electrical power and saving an average of up to 40% of the electricity bill in a typical Brazilian household. In the municipalities of Irati, Fernandes Pinheiro and Rio Azul in the Brazilian federal state of Paraná living mainly small farmers and low-income families. Presentations of the system to the families and house visits for the technical pre-investigation have been carried out in September, 2015. The objective now is to install these systems with family farmers in order to give them access to sustainable solar hot water supply and a saving in electricity costs. During the project, the families are trained theoretically and practically in a two-day workshop to not only use the system properly, but also be able to install further systems on their own and to be sensitized on the global context of climate change and energy consumption, reflecting their own role in this topic. As a project partners, the local university, schools, the mayor and other institutional multipliers are integrated and constantly in close contact with the project leader. The work during the project and its results are extensively documented and published in academic and media platforms in Brazil and Germany.



Donation Status


1860€: Travel expenses and over night stays; 930€ Material; 335€ Transport

Project Leader

Lutz Michaelis

Regional Groups

  • Rottenburg

Project members

Iason Loibl

Project Category



March 2016 - November 2016

Project stage



(Deutsch) Warmes Wasser ohne Strom