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Solar photovoltaics

for sustainable rural electrification

in developing countries;
the experiences in Peru

Manfred J. Horn
CER-UNI; Lima, Peru;

The problem
About 2 billions of people in developing
countries do not have access to electricity.
25 % of 26 millions of Peruvians, nearly all
living in rural areas, still do not have
electricity in their communities.
This will eventually not change in the next
ten or twenty years, due to the very high cost
of the connection of a remote rural
community to the national electric grid
(US$ 1000 - 1500 / house).

Photovoltaic rural electrification

in Peru
The first rural electrification project in
Peru was realized in 1986 - 88 with
German cooperation (GTZ), introducing
on a pre-commercial bases about 200
SHS (despite good results, this project
was discontinued, because of
hyperinflation and shining path

The next PV electrification project in
Peru started in 1995/97, when the
Government imported 1450 SHS.
These SHS were installed in rural
homes, mostly in the jungle,
maintaining the Government the
ownership of the SHS. The users
should pay a monthly quote for
Many of these SHS dont work today
and none of the users is paying.

The Taquile PV Project

In 1996 the Renewable Energy Center
of the National Engineering University
(CER-UNI) in Lima proposed a new PV
pilot project for rural electrification. The
Taquile island in Titikaka Lake was
chosen for this project.


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Titikaka Lake

Titikaka Lake with

Taquile and Suasi islands

Essential characteristics of the project

strong involvment of the users

severe quality control of equipments

two years of post sale service
the beneficiaries have to buy their
SHS, but with facilities: 5 yearly
quotes of US$ 150 each



Previous discussions and signing the contracts

PV modules, a lamp and control unit of SHS in Taquile

SHS on the floating islands of the Uros

a 50 Wp SHS produces 5-6 kWh/month, sufficient
to satisfy the needs of a rural family and is
cheaper than a connection to the grid
there exists today a mature PV technology, but
quality controls are essential
the possibilities of PV are still not well known
among decision makers from the government
PV technology is easily accepted by the rural
costs for candles, etc. are similar to those of PV
the beneficiary has to be motivated

SHS are better than a centralized PV system
normally the rural population has not the capacity to
buy cash a SHS, and needs therefore financing
it is basically possible to make in Peru a PV rural
electrification within a free market economy
in our opinion, the success of the Taquile project is
based on two essential ingredients:
the beneficiaries of the SHS are finally the owners
of the SHS
a severe quality control of the equipment and a
post sale assistance had been included

A final remark, last not least:

solar energy technology is ecological
sustainable and may also be used to promote
ecological tourism. An example is Suasi:
Suasi is a small, beautiful island in the
Titikaka Lake, envolved in ecological
tourism, with a hotel that gets all its energy
from the sun (hot water, solar cookers, PV
electricity for lighting, refrigeration,
telecomunications, water pumping, etc.

Suasi, a lodge with all energy from the sun

See you, in Suasi and Taquile,