Peru to Provide Free Solar Power to its 2 Million Poorest Citizens

by , 07/23/13

solar power, solar energy, National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program, jorge merino, peru, solar panels, peru solar power program, alternative energy

The country of Peru is looking to provide free electricity to over 2 million of its poorest citizens by harvesting energy from the sun. Energy and Mining Minister Jorge Merino said that the National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program will provide electricity to poor households through the installation of photovoltaic panels.

solar power, solar energy, National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program, jorge merino, peru, solar panels, peru solar power program, alternative energy

The first part of the program aims to provide solar systems to 500,000 extremely poor households in areas that lack even basic access to the power grid. Unsurprisingly, it is a massive opportunity for domestic solar installers, and Merino has said that bidding for the contract will open later this year to fix the rest of the panels.

The project was first started in Contumaza, a province in the northeastern region of Cajamarca, where 1,601 solar panels were installed. The energy minister has said that when the project is finished, the scheme will allow 95% of Peru to have access to electricity by the end of 2016.

Speaking to the Latin America Herald Tribune, Merino said: “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.”

If Peru can do this for its people, it makes you wonder why more prosperous countries can’t do the same.

via CleanTechnica/Planet Save

Image: Julia Manzerova/ blperk

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  1. Tashi Witekauha June 30, 2015 at 1:57 am

    This should be happening in Australias remote communities

  2. Kevin Parcell December 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    This could be done in a way that empowers communities to develop and protect all their local human and natural resources in record time:

    Pay persons with autonomous community currencies to develop local renewable energy resources, and sell the energy generated at a discount when traded for the local credit. The discount would create a demand for the credit and the energy that then provides most of the motivation, money and energy needed to develop all local resources. And because the credit is local, the people must protect their resources to protect the value of the money and the value of the local enterprises they build with it. And developed communities are better suppliers and customers in the national and global marketplaces. Everyone wins.

    Peru could launch this easily and achieve an unprecedented expansion of economic (and distributed!) growth by allowing this local credit in payment for energy from the grid, which in turn compels the utility to spend the revenue back into communities of origin developing more energy and local resources. The result would be energy, water, sanitation, education, housing, daycare, and more — everything that can be accomplished with local human and natural resources when there’s continuous access to money and energy.

    More info at

  3. rckoegel September 14, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    they should totally set up a buy one give one, or buy two give one, or buy three give one system and include costs for install and training for local maintenance.

    this would make it not only more sustainable, but also provide the countries, or worlds, wealthy with an opportunity to experience the act of giving.

  4. Eric Nicolas Schneider August 3, 2014 at 3:42 am

    Should be coupled with compulsory training of rural women men to maintain the stations, since that is the success model f Grameen Shakti in Bangladesh. otherwise, the usual development problems start occurring like in 1970\\\’s development… install, breaks, since not in the hands of the locals.

  5. brownewall December 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm


  6. Yotam Ariel July 22, 2013 at 12:27 am

    Here is a comment from Julio (expert in Peru rural electrification – )

    “The new is clearly incorrect. The electricity will not be free, at least as was commented until now by the energy administration( MINEM). They are planning to install 500.000 SHS before 2016, but this seems to be impossible, because they had no identified the villages and they have no good updated information.

    But their intention is to ask for monthly quotations to the private companies, to invest, maintain , replace and operate a certain quantity of SHS ( more than 10.000 each time)in one area. They will give a concession for a certain zone to the most competitive offer. And they pretend to open this competition in a very short time. The users will pay part and the most will be paid by subsidies.

    In my opinion this is not a good approach, and I´ll wonder if any private company will send a quotation, or will be very high because of the unknown risks because the companies have no experience to do business with this rural isolated communities. But,…we will see.”

    “In any case the electricity will be subsidize, but no free. On the other hand the photo is an example of what not to do, and is not the case of Perú.”

  7. John Sacedor July 19, 2013 at 8:49 am

    A Peruvian user of Reddit recently posted this online:

    Right now in Perú we have some serious problems with the government. Today the congress elected members of political parties that even belong to the ruling party (“Gana Perú”) as leaders of autonomous branches of the government (“tribunal constitucional”, “banco central de reserva” y “defensoría del pueblo”). This is really bad, because the heads of organizations that are meant to protect the people from actions of the government and to make the government respect our constitution now belong to political parties.

    This means: members of the government, ruling party and allies taking control over the mechanisms that were originally meant to control them, and make sure they are working for the people. Now this institutions won’t behave the way they should.

    We currently have protests in the central area of Lima near the congress and the “palacio de gobierno” (the residence of the president). Television has all the day covered the story of a peripheral fire as if it was the main thing happening. And reddit, you should know that the main thing in Perú right now aren’t the solar panels.

    If you want to know something about Perú right know: we are unhappy and angry with our government and our inefficient political class. We are tired that they work for their own profit and not for the people. We are tired of corruption.

    edit: please, make this information available to more people

    A spot-on reply to his comment by another user:

    “Please, listen to this. The corruption is ridiculous. Peruvians are seeing this article and facepalming, because so many times we have been promised great things that sound great to the rest of the world, and all of the money is \”lost.\” Now the politicians are moving to enable more power for themselves, more money will be \”lost.\” This is just another grand project to distract the world from true intentions. Let\’s not forget that 30% of the population (approx 9 million people) live in poverty. To say that solar panels are a great thing is to assume that things like clean drinking water or even goddamn shelter are already taken care of.”

    This content can be originally found at

  8. Fabius Kay July 18, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    We need same in africa plaise contact me .there same peopl nave see electricite in there life

  9. Iggy Garcia July 18, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    The human mind is amazing, when put to good use!!!

  10. Iggy Garcia July 18, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Peru takes care of its people the best they can. Peru also with help, created a billboard sign that collects condensation and is converted into drinking water(look it up). Peru may be considered third world country by the banking system, that does not make the people third world! VIVA PERU!!!

  11. Eduardo De Lima July 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    To answer Dr.Billy Kidd’s question. Peru, while it may have very diverse climates it usually has a median temperature of around 18C, thus our dependency on energy is much lower due to the fact that we barely use heating and air conditioning. Most “developed” countries have drastic climate variations between winter and summer. I would also like to point out that it’s easier to provide energy to a country with 30 million than one with 350 million.

  12. Eduardo De Lima July 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    I like how people call my country (Third world) yet the most “developed” countries have so much debt that it’ll take them decades to pay it off while “third world” countries have almost no debt and are rising economically at an impressive rate. Just saying.

  13. Michele Richardson Kraus July 18, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I think this is a fantastic move. As to why the more wealthy countries can’t/don’t do this is not a simple answer. But because we (the rich countries) have such a capitalist outlook on everything and we spend the money (rather than give it away), is what fuels other world economies. If we didn’t spend the money, then other countries would not have the freedom to give stuff to their citizens. Now, if we could come up with something to sell other countries, we’d be doing good. But we just buy, buy, buy, and hardly create anything any more. (generally speaking)

  14. taysic July 18, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Third world countries are leading us into the future! No seriously this is great news

  15. EcoHustler July 18, 2013 at 10:47 am

    This is mega!!

    Ric countries should voluntarily cut back energy use so that we converge with poorer nations at a sustainable level. e.g.

  16. Josh Richard July 18, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Such a shame that we have to look to third world countries for inspiration on how to act ethically towards our citizens.

  17. Reality Rejector! July 18, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Next, maybe they can provide them houses made out of something other than grass or (if the jar in the first picture is for what I think it is for– rainwater collection) running water.

    All this means is the solar panels are so cheap (thanks to government subsidies and Chinese overproduction and price-undercutting) even Peru can afford them.

    For now.

  18. Xug July 18, 2013 at 6:06 am

    Ronjohn – No idea why you’re so negative about the concept of this occurring in a more modern country. Solar panels these days are as cheap to manufacture as dry wall. The market is saturated with them.

    We just need a little more political will to make things like this happen.

  19. Ray July 18, 2013 at 3:20 am

    How ignorant and pathetic of you “ronjohn.”

  20. Dr. Billy Kidd July 17, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    The U.S. does not even have the resources and the will to provide free electricity to its poorest citizens. How could Peru do it in 3 years. Total nonsense.

  21. ronjohn July 17, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    “it makes you wonder why more prosperous countries can’t do the same.”

    Why should we, when we don’t heat our homes with oil lamps?

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