This article was originally published on Planetsave.
By Don Lieber
Peru last week initiated a new program that will provide electricity to more than two million of its poorest residents using solar panels.
Energy and Mining Minister Jorge Merino said that the program will allow 95% of Peru to have access to electricity by the end of 2016. Currently, approximately 66% of the population has 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 Merino.
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.
The program plans to install about 12,500 solar (photovoltaic) systems to provide for approximately 500,000 households at an overall cost of about $200 million.
Peru is the third-largest country in South America, with a population over 24 million. It has average solar radiation levels which can reach 5 kWh per m2 a day in the Sierra (foothill of The Andes). Peru is also home to the first major PV installation in Latin America.
This follows Peru’s public commitments to accelerate renewable energy development, as reported here previously by CleanTechnica.
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.