Business peru

Published on July 15th, 2013 | by Don Lieber


Peru To Power 2 Million Of Its Poorest — By Solar Energy

Peru last week initiated a new program that will provide electricity to more than two million of its poorest residents using solar panels.

machu pichu peru solar

Machu Pichu, Peru on a sunny day.
Photo Credit: szeke / Foter / CC BY-SA


Machu Pichu, Peru.
Photo Credit: titoalfredo / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Energy and Mining Minister Jorge Merino said that the program will allow 95% of Peru to have access to electricity by the end of 2016. Currently, approximately 66% of the population has access to electricity.

“This program is aimed at the poorest people, those who lack access to electric lighting and still use oil lamps, spending their own resources to pay for fuels that harm their health,” said Merino.

The first phase of the program, called “The National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program” was initiated on Monday (July 8) in the Contumaza province, where 1,601 solar panels were installed. These installations will power 126 impoverished communities in the districts of Cupisnique, San Benito, Tantarica, Chilete, Yonan, San Luis, and Contai.

The program plans to install about 12,500 solar (photovoltaic) systems to provide for approximately 500,000 households at an overall cost of about $200 million.

Peru is the third-largest country in South America, with a population over 24 million. It has average solar radiation levels which can reach 5 kWh per m2 a day in the Sierra (foothill of The Andes). Peru is also home to the first major PV installation in Latin America.

This follows Peru’s public commitments to accelerate renewable energy development, as reported here previously by CleanTechnica.

Meanwhile, in the United States, Americans for Prosperity – a political lobbying group founded by billionaire fossil fuel industrialists Charles and David Koch — is currently lobbying the Georgia state legislature to reject a plan requiring Georgia Power, one of the largest energy utilities in the American Southeast, to buy more solar energy.

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About the Author

Don Lieber has written extensively on international human rights, war and disarmament, and climate justice. His writings have have been published by the United Nations, The Associated Press, The International Campaign to Ban Landmines, The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, DeSmog Blog, E-The Environmental Magazine, and others. He is a frequent contributor to PlanetSave. When not writing about climate change, he plays bass for the NYC-based band "Wifey".

  • Julio Enrique Tito

    Hi, I’m from Perú, I live in Lima. This project will help poorest people in my country using renewable energy, it’s a government program. Sorry for my english.

    • Don Lieber

      Thanks for reading this and writing Julio. How do other people you know feel about solar power in Peru?

      • Julio Enrique Tito

        Hi, there are differents points of view in people that I know or not, in general , some people simply doesn’t know anything about it or don’t mind, and there are people that knows what are the benefits of the photovoltaic system and solar energy. Some ONG are trying make communities get close to solar energy, using it to cook or like heating in houses of andes, I have to say that in Peru all people think that we use only hydroelectric energy, but it’s not true, we use termic energy (gas and oil), there are individual efforts to massify renawable energy, bit to bit, but by now, only it’s considered like a complement…

        • Zachary Shahan

          Thanks for chiming in with that great context!

  • Diego Marquina

    Hi Don, is there any official statement from the Peruvian government or somewhere where I can find more information? How are they planning to provide the electricity, i.e., are the systems going to have batteries? If so, what are they going to do when the battery life runs out (after 5~7 years)?

  • bill

    what the hell are you talking about with Charles and David Koch, men who have put their lives and fortunes on the line to help many thousands of people? you have no clue.

    • Don Lieber

      Hey Bill,

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to engage in this conversation – a most important, historic one — the direction of our energy sources.

      Clueless, however – I am not. The reference in the last paragraph is factual and passes no judgement. The AFP is, indeed, trying to prevent the promotion of solar power in Georgia. I did not make that up.

      Your agitation with the article, it seems, stems from the juxtaposition I have chosen: Peru’s active promotion of solar power, on the one hand, back-to-back with the Koch brothers active resistance to solar promotion in Georgia.

      Many readers besides yourself may also find this comparison uncomfortable — I do also.

      And for the record, I am glad that the Koch brothers donate millions to the New York City ballet, and to cancer research, et al. I am well aware of their philanthropic range.

      But this does not magically erase their concurrent huge investments in climate-altering, environment poisoning fossil fuel mega-projects, in parallel with an aggresive, well-funded effort to quash renewable energy promotion – all of which coming at an historic juncture of atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gas.

      Ignoring that part of their portfolio — THAT would be clueless.

      I am glad you reacted to the admittedly uncomfortable, last-paragraph inclusion of the AFP efforts in Georgia, coming so unexpectedly at the end of an othewise positive story about solar promotion in Peru. You may feel that these two currents don’t belong together.

      That was the point. They don’t.

      • Sherrie

        Not just learning from these incredible articles/links, but seeing the feedback of others– this is very encouraging; Good damage control against potentially paralyzing effects of the hideous facts.

        Public awareness is picking up- none too soon.

      • Zachary Shahan

        Hear, hear!

  • Amy

    I wonder if they are planning for maintenance and upkeep?

    • Zachary Shahan

      I’m sure they are. That’s standard procedure.

  • Ben

    Some people on the other side say forcing Georgia utilities to buy solar power will increase everyone’s electric bill for capacity that is not needed. Some people on our side say you build a stronger movement through free choice instead of government force. Maybe these people are wrong. But OMG, Sherrie, didn’t you learn anything in school about the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech?

    • Zachary Shahan

      You seem to have made a mistake and are commenting on the wrong article. This is about solar in Peru… not Georgia. But since you brought it up. Solar has been documented to reduce the cost of wholesale electricity in places like Germany and Australia that have a lot of it. Germany, meanwhile, doesn’t have nearly the solar irradiation (sunshine) of Georgia. I wouldn’t worry about it. I’d worry about the nuclear power plant project that is already running over budget, is sure to run over budget much more by the time it’s done, and is going to be much more expensive than solar by the time it’s done. Georgians got totally sc***ed on that one.

    • Sherrie

      I am guilty as charged -though as Ben points out, not liable for imprisonment ! Thanks for motivating me to clarify the intended targets of my wrath: fossil fuel industrialists who ALREADY did their thing, many times over, by deed and certainly by influence.

      To all — especially author Don:

      Truly, as a “typical American” in my thinking in many ways– and yes, i believe that applies// consider that a unifying theme despite serious socio-political divisions—I don’t actually advocate criminalization of “planning” !

      Chalk that previous comment up to how incensed I get thinking of the disregard to the futures of my children, my niece, your
      children… !!

      Anyway, my way to dilute the potential hopelessness that could set in, given the magnitude of what we work against, is to maintain connections such as this one when possible.

      • Ben

        The connections are good, Sherrie. I think you and I were both gamed by the last paragraph of the post. It was off the subject and divisive, putting a hard political spin on what was, until then, an uplifting story. Yes, it’s all one world, but come on people, can’t we come together to feel good about what Peru is doing without descending into a squabble about the Koch Brothers?

  • brenda

    peru is awesome, beautiful, i wish them the best with this project

  • Sherrie

    Peru? PERU??? But not the US ! Rejecting a plan to buy more solar energy is criminal. Just planning that ought to get jail time, plus monetary damages..

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