Central America

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Solar Power, Hydro Power, Grid, Improved Cooking Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua

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Technologies solar home systems (SHS) improved cookstoves (ICS) hydro power grid extension and densification
Partners Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) in Nicaragua; Instituto de Conservación y Desarrollo Forestal (ICF) in Honduras, BUN-CA in Central América (FOCAEP)
Implementers GIZ
Outcomes Access to modern electricity:
  • 193,000 people

Access to modern cooking energy:

  • 162,000 people

Access to modern energy services:

  • 1,100 social institutions
  • 1,900 SMEs

Energy Situation

The energy situation in the three Central American countries is comparable in various aspects. Honduras has the lowest rural electrification rates in Latin America after Nicaragua: only 46% of the rural Honduran population has access to electricity (Nicaragua: 68%). In rural areas, the population is highly dispersed, thus providing access to electricity is often difficult. This yields a great potential for the application of off-grid solutions such as solar or hydro power plants.

In Honduras, 90% of the energy used by households comes from firewood, while in Guatemala firewood represents 57% of the national energy consumption; with the highest consumption in the poorest regions with no access to electricity. In Nicaragua, about 900,000 rural and urban households use firewood for cooking while using inefficient stoves. In general, in all three countries inefficient, highly smoke emitting stoves are widely used, posing a financial and health burden to the people and an environmental burden to the countries through deforestation.

For more information on Nicaragua and Honduras see their respective pages on energypedia.


The multi-country project EnDev Central America is implemented in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala, and consists of four components: (1) grid extension and densification, (2) solar home systems (SHS), (3) hydro power, and (4) improved cookstoves (ICS). The objective for the grid component of EnDev Central America is to facilitate grid-based electricity supply to rural and peri-urban households, social institutions and small to medium-sized enterprises. Grid extension and densification interventions in Honduras and Nicaragua have led to the electrification of numerous communities in rural regions.

The solar component disseminates SHS in rural areas of Honduras and Nicaragua, further strengthening the markets by engaging in capacity development for operation and maintenance of SHS. EnDev trains local technicians and promotes the establishment of after-sales services. Additionally, the providers of solar products are supported by EnDev Central America in accessing remote communities and potential customers. EnDev also installs solar dryers for productive use for Honduran coffee and cocoa producers to improve incomes through better product quality. In Guatemala the project targets micro financing of picoPV combo solutions for household lighting and improved cookstoves.

Besides the installation of micro- and pico hydropower plants (300W up to 25kW) in Honduras and Nicaragua, the hydro component of EnDev fosters capacity development for operation and maintenance, aiming to improve knowledge of cooperating institutions, local operators and user groups.

The ICS component is carried out in all three countries, aiming at improved stoves to be installed in households, especially targeted at rural and indigenous communities. Improved cookstoves are further to be installed in social institutions and small to medium-sized enterprises, supported by providing financing models to them. EnDev also trains ICS users and strengthens local supply chains for after-sales services. The Honduran approach combines the dissemination of solar home systems with the dissemination of ICSs and basic hygiene measures.