- The ACCIONA Microenergy Foundation has already trained over 40 entrepreneurs and created 18 'Home Electricity Centres' as micro-enterprises to sell and maintain electrical equipment designed specifically for isolated off-grid locations.
In line with its search for formulas for environmentally-sustainable economic cooperation, the ACCIONA Microenergy Foundation has developed a model for promoting local entrepreneurship based on setting up franchises devoted to maintenance services and the sale of energy-efficient electric appliances in isolated rural communities in Cajamarca (Peru) and Oaxaca (Mexico). These 'Home Electricity Centres' serve 11,500 homes to which the Foundation provided electricity for the first time through social enterprises that handle the supply, operation and maintenance of home photovoltaic systems in villages with no grid connection.
These inclusive companies, called 'Home Electricity Centres', operate as micro-franchises managed by local entrepreneurs. ACCIONA Microenergy acts as franchisor, providing technical and business training to the entrepreneurs to enable them to sell small electrical appliances and provide repair and maintenance services. The items for sale are vetted and tested beforehand to ensure a high degree of energy efficiency, good quality and an affordable price.
This network of entrepreneurs completes the Foundation's vision of 'acting at the base of the pyramid, generating development by enhancing living standards through access to electricity and by dynamising local economies,' said Julio Eisman, Director of the ACCIONA Microenergy Foundation.
In order to ensure access to electricity, the 'Home Electricity Centres' handle maintenance of the photovoltaic systems supplied by the Foundation and offer additional applications for electricity by providing equipment and appliances adapted to users' needs and the system's capacity. From a social standpoint, the Centres help to create jobs and generate a local business fabric, with professionals trained by the Foundation to manage businesses in an economically sustainable manner.
This initiative was first implemented in Peru, through a project cofinanced by AECID under a competition for innovative ideas, and it is currently being rolled out in Mexico. To date, the ACCIONA Microenergy Foundation has trained about 40 users and there are 18 'Home Electricity Centres' operational at present: 12 in Peru and the remainder in Mexico.
The process of establishing a Home Electricity Centre includes a survey of product demand among potential customers and an analysis of the reliability and durability of the appliances to be sold, which is vital to ensure long-term value for money. To this end, the ACCIONA Microenergy Foundation vets and selects the most appropriate appliances from among those available on the market. Appliances are tested beforehand by an accredited laboratory, which also draws up the technical specifications and instructions for repairs.
The project, which is currently expanding, commenced in Peru with the support of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID), the Technical University of Madrid and the ICAI Engineers for Development Foundation.