Practical Action Peru

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Bringing Technology to Rural Peru Through Small-Scale Technology



Headquarters Lima, Peru
Established 1966, Peru office founded 1985
Impact Areas Practical Action International: Bangladesh, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Sudan, Kenya, Latin America, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador
Type Non-profit
Energy Sectors
Business Model Types
Staff Size 100 total, 25 in renewable energy
Annual Budget N/A
Major Funders Practical Action UK, Peruvian Government
Awards 2007: Ashden Awards
2008: Tech Museum of Innovation Award


Practical Action Peru installs off-grid power faciltiies in villages in rural Peru. 90% of their work is in hydro, though they also work in wind, solar, and biomass.



Energy Products/Services

Target Market

  • Practical Action’s target market is 1.2 million people in rural Peru that will never be reached by the grid.


Practical Action Peru

Revenue Streams

  • Donations and grants, 30% of costs covered by Practical Action UK

Value Proposition

  • Previous to an installation, villages get light from kerosene, candles, and batteries, each family spending about $6/month on average for about 2/hours/day of electricity.
  • With a hydro system, families pay $5/month for 24 hours of electricity with no pollution.

Problem Addressed

  • 6.5 million people in Peru have no electricity (23.7% of the national population and 67% of rural population
  • Of the 6.5 million, 5.3 million can eventually be reached via the grid, 1.2 million can only be reached cost-effectively by renewable energy.
  • It is estimated that only 3% of energy in Peru is generated by renewable sources, most of which is from sugar cane residual gasification in coastal regions.

Where They Are Now

Impact to Date

  • Impacted 4,000 families  (20,000 people) through 2010
  • 2250 people provided with energy in 2010 (450 families @5 people/family)



  • 1985: Practical Action Peru founded
  • 1992: Began Micro-hydro initiative
  • 2007: Winner of Ashden Award

Growth Plan

  • Expanding by 4-5 new hydro plants/year
  • Expect to impact 5,000 people in 2011 and continue at this rate for the next 5 years.

How They Deliver

Revenue & Affordability

  • Generally there is a 3 way cost-split between an international donor, the government and the community members.
  • Installation is paid for by the government and international donors. Communities provide labor.
  • Local government technically owns the plants, but they are run by community members as a community business.  Families pay based on usage of electricity(tracked by meters), and the money is used for maintenance.


  • Practical Action seeks out communities appropriate for hydro projects, and is sometimes approached by the communities.
  • When a community is chosen, Practical Action creates a community energy plan that identifies value chains and economically productive uses of energy.  These plans identify the most appropriate energy source for the community, and are incorporated into local municipal development plans
  • After Practical Action installs a project, they no longer maintain a direct relationship with the community.


  • Each Practical Action office receives 30% of its funding from the UK headquarters, and raises additional overhead funds from other donors.



  • Scaling is limited by the amount the government is willing to invest in rural renewable energy.
  • Also, it is difficult to find people in rural communities capable of running a hydro project.
  • Practical Action trains them but this is resource intensive and is a barrier to rapid scaling.

More Resources

Online Resources

Contact Information

Soluciones Practicas
Oficina Regional para América Latina
Jorge Chávez 275, Miraflores
Lima, Peru
* +(51 1) 4475127 4447055 2429714