Electricians without borders - Follow the adventure in Peru

Here is our third interview with Project Leader Bernard Bonnefoy.

Electricians without borders - Follow the adventure in Peru

Bernard, please tell us what happened next during this mission…

After completing installation in the first two villages, we returned to Puerto Maldonado where the social situation in town had calmed down. In spite of heavy police and military presence, everything seemed to be quieter there.

The missing equipment had arrived at last… but it was still blocked at customs!

We took advantage of a short weekend at home, in France, to prepare the next steps by participating in meetings at Ministries, settling some red tape issues with customs, fetching inverters and fridges, and getting ready for next expeditions. 

Electricians without borders - Follow the adventure in Peru

Can you give us a few details about participants, especially the role of young people in these achievements?

Five people have participated in the mission with us.

Two technicians have been asked by Ministries to carry out—and get familiar with—the installation and maintenance of photovoltaic (PV) plants.

Manuel, a young electrical engineer from Puerto Maldonado, has worked with us and quickly learned all photovoltaic techniques. He is now capable of installing PV plants and considers making this his occupation. He will be in charge of maintenance visits as well as troubleshooting PV and electrical plants under a contract with Ministries.

Juan Carlos and Pedro, two teenagers from a local orphanage, have also done a very good job on the sites. Like us, they took pleasure in carrying out these installations and would like to build on this achievement. Their action has been instrumental in the success of this mission. 

Electricians without borders - Follow the adventure in Peru

Which techniques did you use for installation? 

Electrification has been achieved by installing 10 PV generators and equipping buildings with electrical systems.

Electrical equipment supplied by Legrand and cable reels from Nexans were shipped to Puerto Maldonado and stored by Apronia at the San Vicente orphanage. The equipment was then brought by dugout canoe to each site as and when needed for installation.

For healthcare delivery points, PV generators consist of four 12V 80Wc solar panels, one 24V/20A regulator, one 24/230v 1500VA converter, and four 6V 225Ah batteries.

For schools, they consist of two 12V 60Wc solar panels, one 12V/20A regulator, one 12/230V 700VA converter, and two 6V 225Ah batteries.

Both at healthcare delivery points and schools, solar panels were installed on a wooden frame or pole with an appropriate fitting. At the Palma Real school, we installed rooftop panels as the roof there is in a perfect position.

“PV” refrigerators were installed at all five healthcare delivery points, now allowing medications and vaccines to be stored in them. These specific places will be used as advance bases for dispatching medications and vaccines in portable coolers to other healthcare delivery points in the vicinity.

Electricians without borders - Follow the adventure in Peru

Can you describe the daily life of villagers and how they participated in the project?

Village chiefs, inhabitants as well as local teachers and nurses were expecting us. Other villages were informed of our progress by radio from healthcare delivery points.

Villagers participated in stewardship tasks and hard work, such as providing and preparing living quarters, cooking meals, unloading and carrying equipment, earth-moving…

For example, a classroom was made available for us to sleep in. This was quite rough accommodation, and some of us were afraid of bugs!

At Palma Real, meals were cooked by nurse Myriam. At night, Juan Carlos, one of the teenagers from the orphanage, showed us how to fish piranhas!

Electricians without borders - Follow the adventure in Peru

Next month we’ll submit an assessment report 18 months after these first installations were completed.