Originally published on the ECOreport.
“Can you imagine spending an entire day without electricity? Can you imagine the desperation you would feel? Can you imagine not being able to use the Internet, your cell phone, your appliances, or your lights? Now imagine living without electricity every day of your life and relying on candles for light. In Mexico there are millions of people for whom this is not an imaginary situation, it is the reality of their daily life.” – Vitaluz
Yusef Jacobs discovered the need during his fourth semester at university. People in the poor communities he visited either did not have electricity, or were paying more than he did for his house. This seemed like a great social injustice. He designed the prototype of what has become the Vitaluz battery/control system from a box of cookies. Now, with the help of David Perlo from Gifted Citizen and former law student Eduardo Calderón he is bringing solar energy to Mexicans without electricity.
They recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Donadora to finance installations in 100 homes. There are 26 days left. Vitaluz is a third of the way to reaching its goal of raising $63,167.
“If we reach our goal it will be the most successful crowd funding campaign ever run in Mexico,” said Hannah Bouline, the strategic planning assistant at Vitaluz.
In addition, the company has 272 active users and another 150 on the waiting list.
Bouline explained, “Vitaluz is working to bring solar power to the 2.2 million people in the country with no access to electricity. Currently, these families must resort to using alternatives that are harmful to their health and the environment such as candles, kerosene lamps or diesel generators. The most ironic and unjust part is that these alternatives are also the most expensive and inefficient lighting and electricity methods that exist.”
The Vitaluz Systems
The most popular, and least expensive, system consists of a 15W solar panel, 3 LED lights (3W), and a Vitaluz battery/control system.
Bouline said communities are expressing interest in a larger system, which uses two larger panels and can power a refrigerator.
She added, “We’re trying to show this is financially sustainable, so that we can get larger investments, or partners, to help us build up to scale.”
- Putting up a solar panel – Courtesy Vitaluz; Vitaluz Vimeo
- (l to r) Yusef Jacobs , General Manager and Founder of Vitaluz
- David Perlo, partner and the Director of Strategic Planning, Eduardo Calderón, Director of Community Management – Courtesy Vitaluz
- Delivering a Vitaluz System I – Courtesy Vitaluz
- (English Translation) “How off-grid solar energy works” – Courtesy Vitaluz
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