More than half of the newly-built 145-km road, which connects the five main highways crossing Rio de Janeiro, will be lit by solar lights.

The entire project will produce around 2.8GWh of solar energy per year, equivalent to the amount of power used by 1,500 average homes and equal to the carbon dioxide emissions that 1,583 acres of forest would offset.

The local Rio government said the lights and new road would streamline traffic for citizens and businesses throughout the region, stimulating economic growth.

Developer Kyocera is well known for its grand solar schemes, including the world’s largest floating solar farm and solar panel-covered golf courses.

“Kyocera continues to be dedicated to solar solutions that are helpful in rural areas,” said Sergio Beninca, president of Kyocera Solar Brasil.

“This solar lighting project helps contribute by not overburdening the energy grid system that many lower-income households in the area depend on.”

“Utilizing solar power allows the Brazilian government to deliver reliable light on the highway in areas without a traditional electricity grid. We’re honoured to deliver a simple, energy-efficient solution to help advance this very important project for Brazil.”

The project continues a recent surge of sustainability schemes in Brazil’s growing economy, after a 350-metre ‘climate tower’ was unveiled in the Amazon to help monitor carbon sinks and sources in the rainforest.

Just last week, Brazil received €550m from Germany to help it tackle deforestation and boost energy efficiency programmes. Brazil President Dilma Rousseff also promised to end deforestation by 2030.

Brad Allen

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