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Perú Bringing Solar Power to the Masses

Solar Power to Find a Home in Perú
Solar Power to Find a Home in Perú

According to some detractors, renewable energy and efficiency programs cost jobs and would be bad for the economy. This is exactly the kind of bureaucratic head-in-the-ground thinking that keeps solar power programs, and others, on hold here in the US.

Other countries are embracing the change to clean energy. Perú, for example, has an abundance of natural gas, which is why natural gas automobile conversions are gaining in popularity. Natural gas prices are low and the fuel is abundant, so why isn’t Perú building natural-gas-fired power generating plants?

Perú is advancing the renewable energy option, and is actually home to the first major solar power installation in South America. It all makes sense, since average solar radiation levels hit 5kWh/m2/day in the foothills of the Ándes mountain range. A new project, “The National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program,” was initiated July 8, aimed at getting power to the country’s poorest residents.

According to Energy and Mining Minister Jorge Merino, just 66% of residents have access to reliable electricity. For heat and light, they spend their money “on fuels that harm their health.” Instead, with 1,601 new solar panels installed in the districts of Cupisnique, San Benito, Tantarica, Chilete, Yonan, San Luis, and Contai, residents will now have access to clean solar power.

Minister Merino says this is just the beginning, and by 2016 expects to have 95% of the nation electrified. All told, some 12,500 solar panels will be installed over the next few years to supply clean solar power to about half a million households, at a cost of about $200 million.

Just as a side note, here in the US, Americans for Prosperity, is lobbying Georgia to reject a plan requiring utility companies to buy more solar power. Must. Keep. Head. In. Ground.

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