Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Imagine never having regular access to electricity. Imagine no one who lived near you had electricity either, and you only knew electricity as a far-off luxury that was available every once in a while, at most. Now imagine that one day, this was no longer true: you had electricity, enough to power lights and charge phones and even work appliances and computers. This is no easy transition for even an individual family, and, if electricity is new to an entire town, the difficulty is compounded to the point of impossibility.
Iluméxico has recognized this impossibility, and has found a way to both bring solar power and develop communities so they can make the most of their new resource. Active throughout Mexico, the company locates marginalized rural communities and works with them throughout the electrification process. Communities meet as a whole to talk to Iluméxico in order to plan and train for their new lifestyle, and then Iluméxico implements programs and technology to reach the communities’ goals. Programs range from the installation of Iluméxico’s basic home lighting and charging units, aptly named “Prometheus,” to more comprehensive installations that provide much needed public services. These public programs include the Ilucomunidades public charging station, the Iluescuelas program, which outfits schools with solar power, computers, and other amenities, and the Iluclínicas program, which outfits homes to serve as health centers. All of these programs are paid for via micropayments that communities and individuals can spread out for up to a year. Iluméxico also operates local centers called “Ilucentros” which service communities by providing maintenance, implementing or expanding programs, planning workshops for development, and keeping an open dialogue about community needs.
As of August 2014, Iluméxico has reached eleven states across Mexico, and has installed 2000 separate systems that collectively provide over 41 kilowatts of power. These systems include 19 “Iluescuelas” schools that have been revitalized via solar power. While many businesses recognize that electrification can bring new life to rural communities while simultaneously protecting the environment and bringing a host of other positive change, Iluméxico stands out by acknowledging that none of these improvements maintain themselves. That’s why they don’t just make customers out of these rural communities: they create partners, all with the common goal of improving lives and saving the environment.
Environmental impact: Avoided use of fossil fuels, including reduced emissions of GHGs and harmful substances
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