Saturday, October 18, 2014

Enlightening the Future of Rural Communities: Smart Hydro Power in Perú

Rural Electrification is all about the creation of opportunities: jobs, education and business, among others. In order to provide rural communities with such opportunities, a continuous power supply is necessary. Having this in mind, Smart Hydro Power (1) has developed a pilot project for the installation of a renewable energy based hybrid power plant in the Peruvian village of "Marisol".

Through their motivation and hard work, the people of “Marisol” are developing a business model based on their cocoa plantation that could provide a future for coming generations of the community. However, without access to reliable and cost-effective power supply, their opportunities are very limited. In this context, the aim of this implementation is to show the effectiveness of hybrid system energy solutions and to empower communities such as Marisol so they can develop a sustainable business model, allowing them to be productive and economically autonomous. This will serve as a reference for spreading this solution to other rural communities. 

In order to bring this renewable energy system to the village and to enable this villagers to improve their life-quality, Smart Hydro Power launched anIndiegogo campaign (2), with the goal to collect 35'000,00€.  

The project shall consist of a combined photovoltaic and a river turbine (3) for primary generation, an electrical cabinet for power management and distribution, and a backup generator. These three sources will complement each other, ensuring reliable electricity generation year-round. Once installed, the system will provide the villagers with clean and constant energy, enabling them to work longer hours in the workshop and increase their cacao production in the rainy seasons.

A breakdown of costs for this pilot project is detailed below:

Breaking it down in more detail:
Photovoltaic system incl. batteries
 5,150 €
SMART Turbine incl. electrical-System
 10,500 €
Back up diesel generator
 2,850 €
Transport of equipment
 6,500 €
Electrical installation
 4,500 €
Turbine and solar panels installation
 3,000 €
Travel expenses of the engineers to Peru
 2,500 €
 35,000 €

(1) Smart Hydro Power is a start-up located in Germany acting worldwide. Their goal is to achieve sustainable development, empowering people so that they can define their own choices and shape their own lives.

(2) Enlightening the Future of Rural Communities is a registered member of the Energy Access Practitioner Network, supported by the United Nations Foundation. The Network serves as a platform for all energy access organizations that contribute to the United Nations's 2030 goal of sustainable energy for all."

(3) The Smart Hydro Power turbine has been developed to produce a maximum amount of electrical power with the kinetic energy of flowing waters. Because it is powered by kinetic energy and not with potential energy it is known as a so called “zero-head” or “in-stream” turbine. As such, no dams and/or head differential are necessary for the operation of this device; the course of a river remains in its natural state and no high investments in infrastructure are required. Because the amount of kinetic energy (velocity) varies from river to river, the capacity of the turbine ranges from a minimum of a few watts to a maximum of 5000 watts.


  1. Interesting experience that will require to follow the on field results.
    There are some other previously Initiative based on the same principle but the results have no been disseminated

  2. As far I know, they have some projects already running with this technology, like this one in Nigeria: