Innovative Energy Access for Remote Areas “The LUAV-Light up a Village” Project
Da Silva, Izael Pereira
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The Light-up a village (LUAV) program is a rural development initiative designed to improve access to modern energy solutions in remote areas of developing countries. The initiative addresses the challenge of Pico PV market penetration by empowering rural communities to actively participate in lighting up their own villages using micro-solar systems. The LUAV business model was designed by an energy company, Barefoot Power (BFP), which began the LUAV field in 2012 in Uganda. The program incorporates local SACCOs and Community Based Organizations (CBO) as well as local governmental bodies in the identification and recruitment of participants. A LUAV program is designed to involve at least 100 households per community by providing each home with its own power generation solar system to run lighting and mobile device charging services. The participating households are given the option to either pay for the micro solar power system upfront or to pay for it in 3–12 monthly installments. For this pilot program, BFP sourced for funding from private investors to operate a revolving fund which is managed the SACCOs and CBOs who have the mandate to manage debt recovery and keep the revolving fund active. Through this business model, 18 LUAV projects were implemented in Uganda during the 18 month trial period providing lighting and mobile charging services to 3,000 plus households. The program’s success has a growing interest and plans are underway to replicate it in South Sudan, Rwanda and Kenya in 2014. According to the latest count more than 7,000 households have adopted the micro-system through LUAV.