Solar power to Peru’s poorest

While we’ve been fighting over solar for 1% of Georgia Power’s production (we won, yay!), Peru is busily providing solar power for almost all of its poorest citizens.

Don Lieber wrote for PlanetSave 15 July 2013, Peru To Power 2 Million Of Its Poorest — By Solar Energy

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.

As MEM says, PR 066-11 14 February 2011,
The availability of solar power makes its use attractive throughout the whole country.

MEM remarked about a 20 MW solar plant in Moquegua, PR 197-11 11 May 2011,

Project will produce clean energy and generate local employment

Merino revealed plans to expand the program significantly by 2016, stating that incorporating solar panels and installing them in the most impoverished areas could allow up to 95% of the Peruvian population to have electricity. That means only 5% of the country’s inhabitants will be without power.

Now that’s a vision!

Map from OY Not Solar

Sure, Peru, almost due south of here and closer to the other side of the equator, has somewhat more sunshine than we do. But Peru’s plan to provide affordable solar electricity to its poorer areas could also work right here in Georgia., 16 July 2013, Peru unveils off-grid solar household electrification program,

Through a program of rural electrification, the rate of electrification in the Cajamarca Region has gone from 48% of households to 60% in just one year.

Minister Merino notes that the installation of PV modules is faster than grid extension, and that when families have electricity in their homes, it allows children more time to study.

Faster than grid extension, and if you’ve already got a grid, like we do here in Georgia, installing distributed solar power is way faster than building a new nuke.

Don Lieber tied all this back to Georgia:

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.

While Georgia Power is always also lobbying the leg., in context presumably Lieber was referring to the IRP before the GA PSC. While the total of around 1,000 MW by 2016 the PSC required is a big step forward, it’s still only the amount New Jersey already has installed right now. Still, Georgia Power lost its traditional grip on the PSC, even with the assistance of astroturf from the Koch brothers. And that’s big news!


Owed to John Pate.