Pico-Hydropower Franchising: A Test Bed in Rural Honduras

Baylor University, 2007 - $50,000

Many poor villages in developing countries are located in isolated mountainous areas without access to grid-based electric power. Without electricity, villagers burn a variety of fuels for energy, which can lead to respiratory disease and environmental degradation. At the same time, a number of these villages have nearby streams that represent a considerable untapped natural resource for energy creation. This team aims to take advantage of those stream, creating village-level pico-hydro systems that harness the small mountain streams to produce enough energy to serve the villages. This team has already developed and installed one pico-hydro systems sustainable by building them into community-owned businesses. Specifically, they will develop business plans for two types of companies: franchised power-producing operations in rural villages (villagers running the pico-hydro systems), and system design companies located in nearby urban centers. The team expects to create three to six more prototype systems in Honduran villages similar to Pueblo Nuevo.