AES El Salvador launches rural solar energy project

AES El Salvador launched a US$80,000 project on 16 November 2016 to bring electricity to rural communities via solar energy through their company CLESA (Estrategia y Negocios). The launch is a pilot project in a small community in the department of Ahuachapán and gives members access to electricity through photovoltaic cells, including storage batteries (El Diario de Hoy). Another component of the project includes turbo-stoves that use 10 percent as much wood as the community’s current stoves and would result in less smoke, both a health and environmental hazard. According to AES President Abraham Bichara, he hopes to emulate this project in other rural areas to move El Salvador from 95 percent to 100 percent in terms of population access to electricity (La Prensa Grafica). Around 60,000 Salvadorans, or 5 percent of households, do not currently have access to electricity. Internal AES data reported by El Diario de Hoy showed that the company has helped move this percentage from 70 to 95 since 2001.