Iluméxico: the social enterprise bringing solar energy to
Iluméxico will bring its solar home systems
to 50,000 off-grid rural homes by 2020
and will create 180 new jobs
Iluméxico, the Mexican social enterprise focused on solar power, has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a commitment to bring its solar home systems to 50,000 off-grid rural homes – approximately 300,000 people – by 2020. This commitment includes the creation of 180 new jobs, of which 90 will be designated for women and 70 will be based in rural communities.
The company plans to increase its "ILU Centros" support network from five to 50 locations nationwide and strengthen alliances with both public and private institutions. Anticipating up to 70% growth within the next five years, Iluméxico also plans to expand its business into two new Latin American countries by 2020.
"Delivering affordable, sustainable solar power to off-grid rural communities brings Iluméxico one step closer to realising its vision of ensuring access to electricity for all Mexicans by 2040," stated Manuel Wiechers, Iluméxico's CEO. “Bringing clean, long-lasting illumination to people at the bottom of the economic pyramid is furthering the country’s development through income generation and learning opportunities for client families, along with cleaner, more sustainable energy use. We are pleased that our work has been recognised by the Business Call to Action and look forward to working with the organisation and fellow members to advance our mission.”
More than three million Mexicans – 600,000 households – live in remote, rural locations. Their geographic location and isolation make it difficult and expensive for government infrastructure and electrification projects to reach them. Iluméxico's business model taps into this unmet need through the design and manufacture of a wide range of solar systems for bottom-of-the-economic pyramid markets. Approximately 60% of Iluméxico’s customers are indigenous and all live in isolated areas in communities of less than 100 households.
Starting in 2010 as a conventional philanthropic organisation, the company has transformed itself into a for-profit social enterprise. This transformation has enabled Iluméxico to advance technologies and diversify its product portfolio to meet customer demand. Its last-mile distribution strategy reaches remote communities through a hub-and-spoke model that employs local technicians and provides customers with flexible financing. This model allows clients to save up to 10% of their monthly incomes and reduce the use of polluting and hazardous lighting sources such as diesel and candles. The company also provides environmental awareness, financial education and community organisation workshops.
"Consistent access to clean, efficient energy can transform lives and livelihoods, with widespread impacts on a country's development agenda," says Suba Sivakumaran, BCtA’s programme manager “This includes income-generating opportunities, reduced use of biomass and other unsustainable solid fuels, greater opportunities for education and healthcare, and more engaged, productive households and communities.”
The above article first published on theguardian.com in Sep, 2015.