Bringing Solar Power to Alpine Andean Communities

Buen Power Peru | Peru

$99,992 | Stage 1: Proof of Concept | Energy

The problem: Low levels of electrification in alpine regions of Peru

Approximately 20% of all Peruvians lack access to electricity. With investment from USAID's DIV, Buen Power Peru will map out a strategy that aims to scale low-cost lighting and energy solutions to all 4.2 million Peruvians living without power. The solar lights chosen for this project are manufactured by d.light design, a US company also working with DIV in Kenya and Uganda.

The solution: Finding new networks to reach remote regions 

Buen Power Peru

Buen Power Peru (BPP), a solar energy enterprise co-founded by an American engineer and a Peruvian entrepreneur will use Stage 1 support from DIV to capitalize on existing networks of  local teachers to distribute clean, renewable solar light to those without access to traditional sources of electricity in largely inaccessible Andean, Alpine communities. 

Buen Power Peru's approach will begin by bringing together a large corps of educators in the city of Cusco to offer training and information sessions on the uses, benefits, and science behind solar energy and solar lights. The teachers, who typically procure second jobs to mitigate systemically low salaries, will bring this information back to their distant communities. Through educational sessions, they will then sell lights from d.light design at an affordable, subsidized cost to residents of their communities. Teachers will earn remuneration from the light sales. By utilizing teachers, Buen Power Peru will eliminate one of the largest financial burdens of bringing solar energy to disconnected communities: that of establishing distribution networks over the thousands of miles of dangerous, unpaved roads connecting major cities to distant communities.

The potential: Cost-effectiveness, impacts, and implications

With support from USAID, Buen Power aims to bring solar lights to approximately 10,230 low-income Peruvians over the next year. It is estimated that with these lights, Alpine residents, who live at altitudes where the sun sets at 6 PM year-round, will enjoy an extra four hours of productive, waking hours every day. 

A corresponding evaluation will gather evidence on the impact of solar access on members of the community in four main areas: the output of women working in the home who weave artisanal clothing from Alpaca fibers; the quality of study for children who will have nighttime hours to read and finish homework; savings the family will gain from not having to purchase expensive batteries to power flashlights; and the air quality in the homes no longer using kerosene lanterns for light. This data will assist BPP in developing a system of best practices to empower teachers across all of Peru to make a living wage while drastically improving the lives of their countrymen and women who have been for generations working and living in the dark.

This investment is part of USAID’s Innovation Fund for the Americas, the Americas arm of DIV that aims to invest in cost-effective, breakthrough solutions to key development challenges in the region.

 

 

For more stories about DIV's grantees, view the full DIV portfolio by COUNTRY | SECTOR

 

 

 

Last updated: January 06, 2014

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