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Bringing light to rural areas fosters progress: the Cerro Iglesias case

6 min.

Bringing light to rural areas fosters progress: the Cerro Iglesias case

A transmission line built in Panama thanks to an Enel Green Power project is bringing electricity into the homes of residents near the Cerro Iglesias power plant, an important step in improving the living conditions of Panamanian communities.

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The community of Cerro Iglesias, Panama, finally has full access to energy.

Today, sustainable and renewable energy guarantees illuminated streets for the inhabitants of this small village and the electricity they need to run their local businesses, schools and clinics.

Light has come to Cerro Iglesias thanks to a Creating Shared Value project (CSV) that Enel Green Power implemented with the Republic of Panama’s Oficina de Electrificación Rural (OER).

The joint efforts of EGP and local government have brought electricity into the homes of the nearly 2000 residents of this community located in the Nole Duima district of Panama’s Ngäbe-Buglé region.

The project entailed building a transmission line about 14 km long (divided into medium voltage, low voltage and H/L combined voltage sections) and installing 263 fixtures for street lighting and electrification of 423 homes.


One project, many players

EGP invested over 1.2 million dollars in illuminating Cerro Iglesias. Construction of the transmission line began in September 2018 and was activated exactly one year later.

The project was coordinated with the OER – the authority responsible for promoting rural electrification in Panama. Group SIMEL assisted with construction, while Naturgy was in charge of handling local individual electrical supply contracts and fire prevention processes, inspecting electrical systems in every home.

“These projects enable us to share our knowledge and feed our constant desire to improve. Cerro Iglesias’ electrification will influence how children and adolescents grow up. From now on they’ll have exactly the same opportunities as kids who live in cities to learn, to exploit technology and to develop. Above all, this project is important for them because they’ll be able to take on the future with greater knowledge, safety and determination.”

– Engineer Rafael Matas – Technical Support Chief of Enel Green Power Panama


The Cerro Iglesias project was financed by Enel Fortuna, a company made up of EGP and the government of the Republic of Panama, to run the Fortuna hydroelectric power station. Part of its earnings are designated to rural electrification projects around the country.

The OER establishes monitoring, approval and validation guidelines and processes in compliance with applicable regulations.

As well as handling technical implementation, EGP also managed relationships with the community to support local businesses.


“This project is the result of generations of sacrifice. That’s why we feel so proud and happy to have made it a reality at long last. We’ve got many goals and dreams to realize, and now with electricity we’re confident that progress will finally come to Cerro Iglesias.”

– Elena Andrade - Leader of the Cerro Iglesias community


A long-term commitment to the community

EGP had already developed another rural electrification project in the same area in 2013. Enel Green Power, in tandem with the OER, implemented a transmission line over 12 km long to supply electricity to 35 homes in the community of Fortuna, where EGP runs a hydroelectric power station of the same name.


“Collaboration with various entities enables Enel Green Power to supply clean energy to everyone in the exact same way.”

– Tanaida Martínez – Sustainability Director of Enel Green Power Panama


Rural electrification progress

Cerro Iglesias proves that collaboration among governmental, private and social initiatives is the key to making significant progress in improving the living conditions of Panamanian communities.

Panama’s percentage of electrification has reached 93.3%, which is impressively high when taking into account the fact that national electric coverage was only 69.5% in 1985.

In line with EGP’s Open Power mission, the company will continue to provide safe sustainable energy to as many Panamanians as possible.

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