Case Studies

Solar Home Systems: El Platanal, Nicaragua

El Platanal is a remote community in Nicaragua that is home to 246 people. GRID Alternatives worked with El Platanal in 2013 to install solar on the local school, and again in 2015 to install solar home systems to further transform the community with access to electricity. Impacts from access to solar energy include new educational possibilities, the ability to use electricity for lighting and activities at home, improved health and savings for families by eliminating dependence on kerosene, and increased opportunities for local entrepreneurs. Read more

Solar-Powered Drip Irrigation: Jucuapa, Nicaragua

Nelson and Johana Valle are farmers in the community of Jucuapa in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. They support their young daughter, Ixil, and Nelson's mother, Marina. In the midst of a multi-year drought, they struggled to earn a profit. GRID designed and installed a 370W DC-direct solar-powered drip irrigation system as a solution. Impacts from the system include higher earnings, more diverse crops, less time collecting drinking water, more reliable electricity for home appliances, no more trips to buy diesel fuel, more income for neighbors, and more locally grown food available all year round. Read more

Solar-Powered School & Health Clinic: El Guaylo, Nicaragua

El Guaylo is a rural community of 261 people located in Estelí, Nicaragua. The region is known for its mild climate and forested mountains. Its largest city was heavily affected by the civil war in the 1980s. The electric grid does not reach many rural areas in Estelí, including El Guaylo. Most homes rely on kerosene lamps or flashlights with batteries that must be replaced every two weeks. GRID worked with El Guaylo to install a 920W PV system on the school and a 490W system on the health clinic. Impacts include access to technology, entrepreneurship opportunities, better medical care, and savings of time and money. Read more

Solar Lighting Program : Solar Entrepreneur Lorena Torres

Martha Lorena Torres Espinoza lives in the rural community of Agua Fria, Nicaragua. In 2012, she began selling solar lamps in her community through GRID Alternatives' Solar Lighting Program. GRID launched the Solar Lighting Program to provide high-quality affordable solar lighting solutions to families living off the grid in Nicaragua, while supporting micro-enterprise for women. A total of 13 women in 13 different communities have sold more than 610 lamps to date. As a Solar Saleswoman, Lorena has created an additional income source for her family while displacing kerosene and making clean lighting sources accessible to her neighbors. Read more

Solar-Powered Drip Irrigation: The Cruz Family Farm

Boanerges and Luisa Cruz are small farmers in the community of La Rinconada, Jinotega, Nicaragua and parents to four children. In July 2016, GRID Alternatives installed a DC-direct 880 watt solar drip irrigation system on their farm together with Nicaraguan solar company Suni Solar, international and local volunteers, and members of the Cruz family. Previously, the Cruz family only cultivated a third of their productive land due to the high cost of irrigation. Now, they are able to farm the entire 2.1 manzanas of land and as Boanerges says: "there is not a single place on the farm that is not being used, even in the internal roads we are trying to cultivate." Read more.

"Sun-Powered Independence": Jose Ariel in Platanal, Nicaragua 

José Ariel, known as “Arielito” to his community, is 29 years old and lives in Platanal, Boaco, Nicaragua. Having an off-grid solar system on his house in the rural community has allowed Jose Ariel to maintain his independence and dignity, despite the challenges he faces living with a disability. By continuing to live in his own house and raise animals, he has a purpose and a comfortable routine. Before Ariel had electricity in his home, he had to walk for four hours, every other week, to buy kerosene fuel to burn in his two kerosene lamps at home. Read more.