Peru has initiated a program that will provide more than 2 million of its poorest residents with electricity -- for free.

'The National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program' began on July 8, when 1,601 solar panels were installed in the Contumaza province of the country, reported. Those panels, part of the program's first phase, will reportedly power 126 impoverished communities.

Jorge Merino, Energy and Mining Minister, told the Latin American Herald that the entire program will allow 95 percent of Peru to have access to electricity by the end of 2016. That will be done by installing a planned 12,500 solar (photovoltaic) systems, reaching 500,000 households, according to

Currently, only about 66 percent of Peru's population has access to electricity.

The entire program will cost about $200 million.

“This program is aimed at the poorest people," Merino said, "those who lack access to electric lighting and still use oil lamps, spending their own resources to pay for fuels that harm their health."


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