Stand-alone - Colombia

Project’s Introduction

  • Date: October 2017 to February 2018

  • Project: Design a business model for the electrification of 104 schools in Nariño

  • Donor: Inter-American Development Bank (USA)

  • Implementing Body: TramaTecnoambiental (Catalonia, Spain)


Climate technology transfer mechanisms and networks in Latin America and the Caribbean is a project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and implemented by the Fundación Bariloche.

The project aimed at: 1. Designing a technical solution for providing drinking water and electricity to 104 schools from the Nariño province, South of Colombia. 2. Proposing a business model for the maintenance of the service.

Prodegee’s Implementation

The proposed business model was based on the creation of a RESCO that involved the University of Nariño, together with seven secondary schools and 101 primary schools. It clustered primary schools around secondary schools according to their geographical location and the most likely destination of the grade 6 students. Then above all of them, the university.

The RESCO was to be coordinated by the university professors and school teachers and run by the students, with the idea of not just offering the service, but also creating already a bond between the three levels of schooling that encouraged students to further their studies while at the same time also providing them a valuable hands-on experience and increasing their entrepreneurial skills.

To provide funds for the RESCO, the model also considered the distribution of pico-solar lights to be offered to the communities for rent, together with the 104 stand-alone PV systems and water purification units required for electrifying and providing drinking water to the 104 schools.

Responsibilities were distributed as follows:

Tier preventive maintenance troubleshooting & repairs
pico-solar primary schools secondary schools
stand-alone PV secondary schools university

A social currency was to be used as payments to students, teachers and professors for the services offered through the RESCO, with the use of the official currency (Colombian Peso) limited to the funding required for the replacement of parts and components. Thus, families hiring the solar lights were to pay one share of the fee in social currency and another share in official currency. This was done to encouraged an increase in economic activity and at the same time to increase motivation by offering a remuneration to those involved in the managing of the RESCO.

Prodegee was used for testing the viability of the business model by factoring all these inputs into it. Considering donated assets for the initial investment only, and setting the hiring fee per solar-light at USD 1.5 a fortnight and an annual fee equivalent to 3% of the initial cost, to be paid by the Ministry of Education for the maintenance of the stand alone solar systems and the water purification systems, the model obtained the following results:

Financial Statements for Nariño's proposal

Prodegee helped in this way to test a model for the electrification of rural schools and communities that could bring many environmental, social and economic benefits, at a very reasonable financial cost to government. This financial cost was just a fraction of the current cost of subsidising the diesel so that small power generators could provide electricity through tier 4.