16 November, 2021 Member article

ARE member acciona.org Foundation Built its First Solar Photovoltaic Station in Peruvian Amazonia

28 October 2021 – acciona.org Foundation works by the Napo, Ucayali and Amazonas river basins, in the Peruvian region of Loreto since 2016. It provides 1,500 households with the Luz en Casa Amazonia’s electricity service through solar home systems in 51 localities, with the support of 4 Centros Luz en Casa owned by local small-sized entrepreneurs in charge of offering proximity services.

In one of those localities called Copal Urco, which is located by the Napo river, acciona.org offers that service with solar home systems to the most isolated households from the central village. Meanwhile, the most concentrated homes –more than 60–, besides some community buildings and the street lighting, had electricity service during 3 hours daily, in the nightfall, through a micro grid fed by a diesel generator.

acciona.org has executed a project with the objective of improving the service provided through that micro grid and so extending the service hours, as well as avoiding the consumption of pollutant fuel. acciona.org has built a 33.5 kW solar photovoltaic station having a 110kWh lithium battery based electricity storage system to replace the current diesel generator, which remains as an emergency back-up system. It has also installed other systems to the micro grid, such as the electricity meters with prepayment system installed in the homes.

The service offered through the new PV station allows, at least, doubling the number of hours of available electricity at home, providing 24/7 service at community buildings and maintain the current 3 hours of service for the street lighting in the nightfall. In addition, the new systems are going to avoid the emission of more than 50 t CO2 per year.

acciona.org has developed a new pay-for-service model, having set an affordable cost per kWh. The families buy in advance, in the Centro Luz en Casa, a quantity of energy (kWh) to use in an indefinite period. When the available energy is beginning to run out, the prepayment software of the electricity meter sends a text message with a notice to the user.

acciona.org has also adapted the service management model: users are in charge of the preventive maintenance of the new systems through the Micro grid Electrification Committee. One of its members has the role called operator, who receive a special training on the PV station operation and who works as the operator for some hours per week in return of a remuneration. The corrective maintenance, the annual revision of the systems and the replace of equipment due to end of lifetime are a direct responsibility of acciona.org.

In summary, acciona.org adds a new electricity service delivery model with this micro grid to the Luz en Casa Amazonia programme. The project developed in Copal Urco will allow evaluate the feasibility and sustainability of this proposal, which incorporates new technological, economic and managerial aspects. Its success will prove, again, the suitability of the renewable energy to bring the electricity to complex contexts and the existence of more than one solution to achieve the universal access to a reliable, affordable, sustainable electricity basic service.