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Dan Merino

Solar is for rich people — or so it often seems. There’s the cost of the panels themselves (although they’re slowly becoming more affordable) and the fact that getting your landlord to plop solar panels atop your apartment building might be a lost cause (unless you live in these Seattle apartments). Community solar is catching on, but solar is still out of reach for most of us.

Unless you live in Peru. The country just launched The National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program, an initiative to get solar to 2 million of the country’s poorest residents:

The first phase of the program, called “The National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program” was initiated on Monday (July 8) in the Contumaza province, where 1,601 solar panels were installed. These installations will power 126 impoverished communities in the districts of Cupisnique, San Benito, Tantarica, Chilete, Yonan, San Luis, and Contai.

The program plans to install about 12,500 solar (photovoltaic) systems to provide for approximately 500,000 households at an overall cost of about $200 million.

According to Energy and Mining Minister Jorge Merino, the program’s goal is to give poor people clean energy options that don’t threaten their health. Yeah, I would say solar panels are a good upgrade from heating your home with an oil lamp. By the beginning of 2017, 95 percent of Peruvians will have electricity — up sharply from the current 66 percent.

Yo America! See that shiny thing? IT’S A GAUNTLET AND IT’S BEEN THROWN DOWN.