Panama extends access to electricity in Ngäbe-Buglé with co-funding from SENACYT

  • The project provides electricity service to 500 new households and local businesses and reaches, for the first time, to the district of Nole Düima.
  • The project was co-funded by SENACYT and the results were presented at a closing event attended by institutional representatives and beneficiaries of the “Luz en Casa” programme. has been working in Panama since 2017, when it arrived with its global rural electrification initiative “Luz en Casa” (Light at Home), which currently benefits more than 118,000 people around the world, and 20,000 of them in Panama. Panama has recently completed a new expansion of “Luz en Casa” in the Ngäbe-Buglé indigenous region, extending its activity for the first time from the district of Munä to Nole Düima, where it has implemented its model of providing access to basic electricity service with solar home systems. The project is co-funded by SENACYT, the National Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation of Panama.

SENACYT recognized this innovative “Luz en Casa” model as a viable, sustainable and affordable alternative to the usual option of access to electricity service through conventional means (extension of grids), through its Business Innovation Promotion Programme, in its Public Call for Business Innovation Projects 2022. "Luz en Casa" is technically, economically and environmentally feasible in isolated rural communities such as those of the Ngäbe-Buglé indigenous region.

The results of the project were presented at a closing event held at SENACYT's Coiba Salon in Ciudad de Panama on February 7th, 2024. Institutional interventions were made by Alberto de Icaza, Director of Business Innovation at SENACYT; Leonardo Alessandria, National Director at the Office of Rural Electrification (OER); and Alibeth De Gracia, Manager at Panama. Also participated with their personal testimonies Dixenia García, beneficiary of the “Luz en Casa” programme in the community of Cerro Tula; and Digna Amador, entrepreneur in charge of the “Centro Luz en Casa” of Cerro Iglesia (Light at Home Centers) .

More than 2,500 people have benefited from this project in 500 households and local businesses, added to the more than 17,000 people who have already benefited from the innovative model developed by, adapted to the needs and conditions of the communities in the region.

The Panama model consists of the installation of solar home systems, which are given to beneficiary households to use the electricity they generate, in exchange for an affordable fee to cover the management and maintenance of the service. This management is based on the so-called “Centros Luz en Casa” in charge of local entrepreneurs, already known by the beneficiary population for being located in reference locations. These entrepreneurs are trained by to set up their businesses and provide service to the communities, guaranteeing the operation of the systems in the long term.

“Luz en Casa” has been growing gradually since its arrival in the Ngäbe-Buglé indigenous region 6 years ago. First in the Müna district and now also in Nole Düima, reaching a total of more than 3,600 housholds benefiting around 20,100 people