November 16, 2018: Building a brighter future for families in San Isidro, Nicaragua

In November 2018, GRID Alternatives' Nicaragua-based staff worked alongside local participants and community members to install 17 battery-based solar home systems in the community of San Isidro, Jinotega, bringing clean lighting and AC power to these households. San Isidro is located five hours north of the capital city of Managua. It is far from the nearest town, where residents buy basic supplies, charge cell phones, and catch the bus to other parts of the country.

There are approximately 300 residents with no access to conventional grid electricity. The community is located where two municipalities converge, which means San Isidro is not always recognized and is often left out of the allocation of resources for basic services like water and electricity. Community members make their living through small-scale agriculture and some residents have institutional jobs, like working for the school. Women in the community tend to have a very traditional role and children only have access to one multi-grade school, which stops at grade six.

Like many communities that do not have access to the electrical grid, residents have relied on non-renewable energy sources like kerosene that are expensive and hazardous to use. Solar is a solution that provides high quality lighting for night-time studying and activities at home, while enabling families to use regular home appliances like lamps, cell phones, RVs, computers, fans, and more. In 2017, the community held a meeting with GRID in which they identified the need for clean electricity, solicited solar projects for their local school, health clinic, and homes, and formed a community Energy Committee to make this initiative reality. GRID successfully completed the three projects in San Isidro last year, bringing solar to the school and health clinic in May 2017, and completing the first phase of solar home system installations for 18 households in August 2017 with participants from GRID's largest corporate sponsor, IGS.

Community members supported the project by helping deliver the equipment and supplies to the project sites, and investing in their systems with a contribution that represents 20% of the system's total cost, which is subsidized by GRID. GRID staff and local participants were grateful to return to San Isidro to complete this second phase of solar home systems installations in the community. See photos from the installation!