On our first trip to Peru in 1996,
we stayed on Taquile for a week. We learned that the popular way to have electric power--lights and music--was to carry a lead-acid car battery the hour or so hike to the boat, charge it for a day in Puno, and return on the third day for, perhaps, three to four nights of power. We immediately recognized a perfect application for solar energy and brought the first photovoltaic panel in 1988.
Since then, the community has created micro-credit programs to pay for PV systems, individuals have managed to finance them themselves. And even, in 2002, a cultural dance group brought to Washington, D.C., got the Smithsonian to rush around and pay them in solar panels instead of money!
Sam and I used to bring panels, but now solar is available in several stores in local Puno and Juliaca as well as throughout Peru. Now we bring efficient LED lights and charge controllers, USB ports, voltmeters, inverters and various other accessories for the solar PV systems. We also buy equipment in Puno and then trade textiles for the equipment.
Last year, when our Colorado friends, Brad Burritt and Danielle LeCarre of Empowered Energy Systems, came to Taquile, they could see a need for further education, how PV systems here are getting large enough that it is time for some safety and more advanced expertise. So this year, thanks to community funding, advance training came to Taquile.
|learning to test a solar panel|
|more testing under charge and use|
|Meters for testing are important tools.|