Luz en Casa (Light at Home), a reality for 61 families in the Peruvian Amazonia

Cajamarca (Peru).- The ‘Luz en Casa Amazonia’ Pilot Project benefits now 61 families in the Napo district (Department of Loreto), with electricity from Third Generation Solar Home Systems-3GSHS that the users installed by themselves in their houses.

The ‘Luz en Casa Amazonia’ Pilot Project, implemented by ACCIONA Microenergia Peru and co-funded by the National Council on Science, Technology and Technological Innovation of Peru –so called CONCYTEC, started in February 2016 and, during this last year, various activities have been developed within it, such as the first visits to potential intervention areas, the agreement signed with the Municipal Government of Napo to implement the project in this municipality, registration of users and awareness sessions in the Napo communities of Nueva Union, Nueva Antioquia, Vencedores de Zapote and Juan Pablo II, where their respective Photovoltaic Electrification Committees –so called CEF– were formed; in these communities electrification through conventional means is almost unfeasible technically and economically because their access is only possible by waterway.

Then, the following steps were the equipment supply and evaluation, users and CEF training, distribution of 3GSHS to users and supervision of their correct installation in every house.

The supply was in the town of Iquitos, where ACCIONA Microenergia Peru performed a detailed technical evaluation of the equipment received. Once it was finished, the 3GSHS were delivered in every locality, where the CEFs were in charge of safekeeping until the training sessions were developed some days after.

These sessions, of 3 hours length approximately, had two blocks to train both CEFs in their role and commitments, and users. Users training was divided in two parts: the first one, informative, about the management model and using the systems and the second one, practical, where the right way to install the 3GSHS was showed. At the end, every head of family signed voluntary the service contract, payed de first three-monthly fee for the electricity service and received a Training Certificate. The attendees could not believe that they were going to have “Light at Home” since that night…

In the following days, ACCIONA Microenergia Peru’s technical staff visited all the 61 houses that are benefited from the project, with the aim of verifying, and correcting if necessary, the installation and operation of the 3GSHS. This occasion brought the opportunity to speak with the users and know their first impressions. Cayetano, user of the community Vencedores de Zapote, explained “instead of looking for oil to light, now we have our own light with which we are calm in our community”.

Up to that moment, the families living in the benefited communities had the only choice of using oil to burn their poor tin-of-milk-made lamps and improvised wicks, which is highly toxic and pollutant as well as it is not easy to get in these isolated rural communities. The fuel’s high cost made to contain the consumption so they had few hours of lighting at night. Baseline studies showed that every family expended an average of S/.20 (€ 5) monthly in energy elements, as well as time and money in moving to get them. Today, they have access to clean energy in their houses in return of a three-monthly fee of S/.30 (€7.5). That is, the monthly expenditure on energy is reduced in 50%, impacting thus the project transversely in the population economy.

From now on, validating the acceptability to the users of the proposed pre-payment 3G photovoltaic technology, and the multi-stakeholder management model, is the next stage in the ‘Luz en Casa Amazonia’ Pilot Project.

ACCIONA Microenergia and the Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are included in the 2030 Agenda, a 15-year plan of action that favours the people, the planet and the prosperity. There are 17 SDG which are integrated and indivisible and that comprise the three dimensions of the Development: economic, social and environmental.

The rural electrification programmes of the ACCIONA Microenergia foundation impact on those three dimensions, and directly on the SDG 7, Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

The implementation of the ‘Luz en Casa Amazonia’ Pilot Project also impacts on the SDG10, Reduce inequality within and among countries: showing the feasibility the new isolated rural electrification model that is proposed with this project, the Amazonian communities would have a mechanism for access to an affordable, efficient and safe basic electricity service, which gives positive impacts on the Development of the people.

It is a non-profit association that was created by the ACCIONA Microenergia foundation to facilitate access to electricity to isolated rural communities, which are not included in the national grid extension of Peru. It develops the ‘Luz en Casa’ programme in the Northern Mountains of Peru, in the department of Cajamarca, where it is an electricity public utility within the Peruvian regulation, and with a fee-for-service model that applies the official photovoltaic tariff. Now it deploys the pilot project of ‘Luz en Casa Amazonia’ in the river Napo basin (Napo district, province of Maynas, department of Loreto) with the aim of validating a sustainable and scalable technological and management delivery model in the Peruvian Amazonia.