Peru is a country devastated by poverty.  Almost half of its 24 million residents live below the poverty line, while approximately 8 million of them don’t even have access to the electricity grid.  Many of these people are still using oil lamps in their homes, which are both outdated and unsafe.  In order to get more of the population access to electricity, Peru has started the National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program.

peruIn its first stage, the program provided 1,601 solar panels in 126 communities.  The end goal, however, is to install around 12,500 panels, which would provide electricity for 500,000 households, making a significant dent on the number of households without 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 Jorge Merino, Peru’s Energy and Mining Minister.

In addition to providing electricity to rural homes, this project has potential to also create jobs and subsequently income for locals.  The plan hopes to create a network of small business that sell, maintain, and operate the PV systems after they are put into place.