Although electricity coverage in Latin America is relatively high, and several countries in the Region have been actively working for its expansion, 31 million people do not yet have access to electricity or any provision that allows them to be illuminated in a clean, healthy and sustainable way. This is the case of 400,000 families in Bolivia and about 150,000 in Argentina. This hampers the development of these isolated and very low resources rural communities. In general, these homes are located in extremely remote areas with very a difficult or impossible vehicular access, which makes transport of conventional energy systems and operations and maintenance tasks more expensive.
Alimentaris Foundation Objective
Alimentaris in pursuit of its working method initiated a search of new technologies and new models to contribute to the resolution of this problem. The technological advances are allowing the development of photovoltaic systems that are characterized by their lower portability and easiness of use and installation by the users, being at the same time substantially cheaper.
Alimentaris in partnership with World Bank, through an ESMAP project (Energy Sector Management Assistance Program, managed by the World Bank and co-sponsored by 13 official bilateral donors), intends to test new technologies (3rd Generation Solar Photovoltaic system – SPV3G) and to develop a new institutional model that allows to give universal access faster and in an economical and sustainable way.
These new technologies are being disseminated by the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation – Lighting Global and the United Nations (SE4A – Sustainable Energy for all).
Alimentaris hopes that the results obtained from these tests in Argentina and Bolivia will have a direct impact on the decision makers of these countries and contribute to strengthening the movement of universal access to energy at a regional and global level.
Progress: 2014 and 2015
During the first two years, it was agreed to co-finance with the World Bank a project in Argentina and Bolivia, with international projection, as well as to involve the authorities of both countries, the PERMER (Renewable Energies in Rural Markets Project – Proyecto de Energías Renovables en Mercados Rurales) in Argentina and the IDTR (Decentralized Infrastructure Project for Rural Transformation – Proyecto de Infraestructura Descentralizada para la Transformación Rural) in Bolivia.
The International Workshop on 3rd Generation Solar Photovoltaic Equipment was held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, introducing these technologies and defining the benefits to be covered. Also, the initial consultancy report was published and 7 field pilots, 4 in Bolivia and 3 in Argentina (Santiago del Estero, Jujuy and Formosa) were implemented, with a total of 72 Families covered. Baseline surveys, installation controls, mid-term surveys and a final evaluation were carried out to verify portability, quality (level of failures), auto-installability and user satisfaction levels with the tested equipment.
Finally, the equipment selected was successfully tested in different laboratories. In our country, testing is a necessary requirement.
For 2016 the objectives of this project are:
- Contribute to systematizing, publishing and communicating the outputs from pilot and laboratory tests at local (Argentina and Bolivia), regional and international levels.
- Establish the conceptual guidelines of an Institutional Model and test it in 2 provinces. Likewise, contribute to the generation of local capacities for certification and validation of these new solutions by INTI (Argentinean National Institute of Industrial Technologies).