Case study

Enlightening the Future of Rural Communities



0 - 500.000 $






Smart Hydro Power installed an innovative renewable hybrid plant in Peru, as a reference case to be easily replicated at other remote located areas. River turbines, combined with photo-voltaic and generator as a back-up can provide a suitable solution for rural communities. This system is nowadays generating electricity for more than 20 houses.

Project Description

Smart Hydro Power implemented a project in Peru that is versatile and applicable in diverse locations. This project consists of an installation of a base load renewable energy system that combines photo-voltaic, hydro-power and diesel generator as backup. These three sources complement each other using sophisticated control systems that ensure stable 24/7 electricity generation. The aim of this implementation is to show the effectiveness of hybrid systems energy solutions and to empower communities such as Marisol (the Peruvian village), so they can develop a sustainable business model, which allow them to be productive and economically organized. This will serve as a reference for spreading this solution to other rural communities in the Amazon region.


Marisol is a typical rural community with a business model. The village has more than 100 people and the majority of them work in the cocoa plantation. There is also a school and a basic workshop mainly for carpentry. We believe that empowering these communities will decrease the likelihood of their villagers having to move to the city looking for a better standard of living and, consequently help prevent poverty and violence in a developing nation.


Based on the installations monitoring and the feedback from the villagers, this system is having a good impact on peoples’ lives. A nice example of this is that shortly after installation a dentist came to Marisol with his patients to treat them using his electric tools powered by SMART system. The hybrid system which always generates a base load supply is competitive against diesel and against photo-voltaic only plants even at river velocities as slow as 1.1 m/s. The high degree of standardization of the system make it ideal for larger electrification projects where clusters are developed and passed over to the local population or their utility. Standardization means low service costs and a maintenance which can be done by local people after a simple training. As the system is completely modular it can grow as a village grows from a number of huts to a center with workshops, a health station and an Internet connection. Electrification gives opportunities to the rural population even in the most remote areas.

Business Model

This hybrid power plant is up and running since November 2014 in Peru. The same renewable energy system can be applied in many communities living in the same situation as Marisol. We estimate that in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Central America and the Caribbean, more than one hundred and twenty thousand villagers could benefit from it (study by Smart Hydro Power based on hydro-logical feasibility and third party studies on PV market potential). This model is going to be presented to the local utility companies as the best alternative for rural electrification in this region. Besides that, the cost and performance profile of the SHP system is well suited to a financial lease, which could be done with the local cocoa cooperatives.

Lessons Learnt

A potential challenge with the installation of renewable energy systems in isolated areas is usually the commitment of the community with the technology. So, they help to maintaining it accordingly. In this case, since the community´s business will be dependable of the system we understand that they will embrace the idead and feel responsible for that.

Key Feature

Smart Hydro Power has a proprietary technology for rural electrification. The SMART Hybrid System, which consists of a hydrokinetic turbine, photo-voltaic panels and (optional) a diesel generator, was developed to offer a continuous, convenient and scalable renewable energy solution, affordable for developing countries. The backbone of the system is a hydro-kinetic zero head turbine working with the flow of water only without any infrastructural requirements other than an anchor stone. Hydro-kinetic technology introduces base load generation to off-grid installations. Hydro power has little fluctuation, in comparison with solar and wind, requiring smaller battery banks. This solution is “green” and empowers people in remote areas to become more productive. The SMART energy management system integrates hydro-kinetic with other sources and introduces a basic load management or smart grid even to the most remote locations. Costs per kilowatt-hour are 50% below those of a diesel generator or photo-voltaic. The system has been extensively tested and first plants installed in Colombia, Peru, Nigeria, Zambia and Germany. Installation, operations and servicing is easy and can be done by local partners after a short training. The system has been designed to allow easy fabrication of components so part of the value chain is developed locally.

Other significant information

The replacement of the generator in Marisol by this hybrid power plant means reducing around 5,058 kilograms of CO2 emissions per year. This is only for this village, so you can imagine how this number rises with further implementations.

Main Donor

Smart Hydro Power
(Private sector)

Implementing Actor

Smart Hydro Power (Private sector)