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Solar Power on Peru’s Eros Islands

May 23rd, 2008 · 5 Comments

2008-04-23 Peru-Ecuador 1908As many of you know, I recently spent 2 weeks in Peru and Ecuador seeing the sites and working on content for our new travel site, MunchkinTravel.com. We took our 4 year old with us and he had the time of his life. Playing with the local kids and exploring a new world. Hopefully this will be the first of a series of blog entries detailing some of the technology I saw on the trip.

2008-04-23 Peru-Ecuador 1916One of the most interesting things we saw was the use of solar panel technology throughout both countries. One such example was on the Eros floating Islands on Lake Titicaca near Puno, Peru. For those of you not familiar with the Eros Islands, it’s an amazing collection of 70+ floating islands built entirely out of tora reeds. 2008-04-23 Peru-Ecuador 1917The early inhabitants used these naturally growing reeds to build floating platforms to escape persecution from the Incas and early Spanish colonizers. 

We stopped at the Island of Apu Inti which some of you might recognize from Elder Rasbands recent talk. This little island, that is home to a handful of families, sits in about 55 feet of water and is 7-8 feet thick. 2008-04-23 Peru-Ecuador 1926 Most life on these islands centers around tourism, with the natives showing the traditional tasks of life, the uses of the tora reed, how the islands are built, and dressing their guests up in native costumes.

Not being one who likes to dress up and dance, I quickly grabbed the nearest native and with my broken Spanish asked to see his solar setup.  The 2008-04-23 Peru-Ecuador 196853 watt solar panel, made by Condumex,  feed through a charging unit in to a water proof 12 volt car battery. He also had a circuit breaker / distribution unit that powered a compact fluorescent light bulb, his TV & Stereo (so much for be true "natives"), and his neighbors house.

2008-04-23 Peru-Ecuador 1965I asked how long he had been running this setup. He told me that the President of Peru had given the solar panels to the people of the Eros islands 6 years ago. Apparently they had been using candles and had trouble with their homes and islands burning down. Go figure. No doubt the gift was an attempt to help keep the 2008-04-23 Peru-Ecuador 1964tourist trade going.

The Eros Islands were not the only places we saw solar panels.  We found them all over Peru and Ecuador and on the islands of Amantani and Taquille. Look for pictures of these wonderful islands on our MunchkinTravel.com  website in the 2008-04-23 Peru-Ecuador 1966coming weeks.

I think the wide spread adoption of solar is directly related to the lack of quality power infrastructure. In many ways, countries with emerging markets are perfectly positioned to leap frog the US in the coming green technology revolution because they don’t have existing infrastructure that is still trying to pay for itself. It’s true that  technology is often driven by the 2008-04-23 Peru-Ecuador 1961underlying business model. It’s also true that disruptive next generation technology is also held back by existing entrenched infrastructure and it’s associated economic model.

Tags: Green Technology · Technology · Travel

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Robert Isaksen // Feb 1, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    I will be going to Peru in march this year and would love to go visit the saints on Apu Inti. How did you get to their specific island?
    From Norway

  • 2 Tyler // Feb 1, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    Apu Inti isn’t hard to get to if you can make it to the city of Puno on Lake Titicaca (flight from Cusco or Lima to Juliaca, then take a taxi to Puno.) From the waterfront in Puno you can catch a boat out to the Eros Islands. Just tell your boat captain that you want to stop at Apu Inti. The of the Eros Islands are within a few minutes of each other and each have a big sign at the dock. Have fun!

  • 3 Robert Isaksen // Feb 4, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Thank you very much for the info!

  • 4 Robert Isaksen // Feb 4, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Oh, and did you have to book a boat in advance btw?

  • 5 Tyler // Feb 4, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Depending on how many people you have in your group, booking a boat in advance could be a good thing. But there are usually plenty of boats waiting to take tourists out to the islands.

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