Rural Community in El Salvador Generates Its Own Electricity

by Vins

Since 2012 farmers from a small, rural community in the mountains of eastern El Salvador have generated their own electricity, the Inter Press Service reported. For generations, the only light sources available to the people of La Joya de Talchiga were candles or wood fires. As IPS reported, because locals lacked formal documentation that they owned their land, the power company operating in the region refused to supply electricity to them.

In 2012, the residents of La Joya set out to generate electricity on their own, with technical and financial support from national organizations such as Basic Sanitation, Health Education and Alternative Energies (SABES El Salvador).

Residents helped built a small dam and hydroelectric plant in exchange for becoming beneficiaries of the service. The total cost of theĀ  project was $192,000, of which $34,000 in value was contributed through community membersā€™ work, which IPS reported was ā€œassigned a monetary value.ā€ Paid workers from outside the community were only hired for specialized work.

Households are charged fifty cents per month for each light bulb they use, a rate much lower than what would be charged commercially.

With electricity at home, students no longer have to stay late at school in order to finish their homework; community members, like Lilian GĆ³mezare, can make charamuscas, ice cream made from natural beverages, to generate additional income; and residents donā€™t have to pay people from nearby towns in order to get their cell phones charged.

Source: Edgardo Ayala, ā€œFarmers Generate Their Own Electricity in El Salvador,ā€ Inter Press Service, October 8, 2018,

Student Researcher: Margarita Mejia Portillo (Sonoma State University)

Faculty Researcher: Suzanne Maggio-Hucek (Sonoma State University)