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Press release: Permer Project – New Energy for Argentina

Enerray, an Italian subsidiary of Gruppo Industriale Maccaferri and leader in PV market, & Fast Power, leader in Off Grid solutions, in 2017 have been awarded with an important Off Grid tender issued by the Ministerio de Energía y Minería, whose scope was to carry out the supply, installation and maintenance of about 8,500 Off-Grid systems, which will be installed in 8 Provinces, covering a total area of approximately 2.8 million km2.
Plug The Sun, the JV between these two companies, designs, develops and manufactures innovative Off-Grid photovoltaic systems which allow easy and reliable access to electricity to people who live in isolated and difficult to reach areas. Thanks to patented technology and a ‘Made in Italy’ design, all Plug the Sun products feature high-density power electronics and intelligent power management systems.
In 1999 the Argentinian government implemented the PERMER project to face the energy needs of its rural low-income population. After reforms in the 1990s, the sector could improve efficiency and quality of services, but little the access to rural population. To eliminate the existing economic and technical barriers, the goal of the project is the development of a sustainable energy market in cooperation with the private sector.
The aim of the project is to expand access to electricity to rural populations throughout the Argentinian territory, allowing them to enjoy a better quality of life without moving to cities or metropolitan areas and keeping tradition and culture typical of the place where they born.
The project is strengthening institutional capacity by providing technical assistance and training programs, especially in relation with renewable energy systems. Before having electricity, Argentina people used candles to light the house, and had to keep doors and windows shut to prevent the wind from blowing them out. Now they are very happy because they have electrical light and a television.
There were a range number of different benefits for communities and environment. The substitution of wood like the main resource for energy helped to stop the expending deforestation in many regions.
The biggest challenges of the project have been undoubtedly the inland transportation, as the households where the systems have to be installed, are located in isolated areas with extremely difficult access.
The PERMER program followed a top-down model, which provided community participation in information provision and decision making. A focus of the participation was set in awareness-rising through meetings and workshops in the communities. The aim was to inform the inhabitants about the access possibilities and technical alternatives and create with that certain customer demand. In some regions there was also a participation in technology development of for example solar cookers and water heaters.
The project has an important social impact as it provides basic electricity service. Better lighting and access to communication mediums (TV, radio) improved life quality significant of beneficiary families. The hours available per day for work, study and other activities were extended.
The mission of ‘PLUG THE SUN’ is to continue developing this kind of business. We believe that both renewable energy and access to electricity are fundamental requirements in enabling rural populations to reach a much higher standard of living.

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