In Guatemala, over half a million homes are without electricity. That means these families rely on candles or kerosene lamps to do homework, read or eat dinner at night. Quetsol, a renewable energy company based in Guatemala, is seeking to address this with pay-as-you-go solar kits that provide affordable power. To help raise funding for the project, Quetsol’s CEO is staying in a completely dark room until the company reaches a goal of $50,000.
Right now, Guatemalans without electricity can apply for loans to obtain a solar power kit from the company, and since 2010 Quetsol has provided over 3,000 kits to homes. But banks haven’t been able to keep up with the need and over half of the loan applicants have been lost in the banking system. So instead of waiting for the banks to get their act together, Quetsol decided to take matters into its own hands by providing a pay-as-you-go service.
The system works by allowing each user to activate their kit using a cell phone to make payments, eliminating the need to wait for an application to be approved by an unreliable bank. Once a home has a kit, a lifetime warranty from Quetsol provides battery replacements and repairs. Best of all, the system costs less than using unhealthy candles or dangerous kerosene.
To raise awareness, co-founder Juan Fermin Rodriguez is refusing to turn on the lights. He is currently living in a dark room and will continue to do so until the funding goal is reached. You can check Juan’s livestream out or make a donation on Indiegogo to bring lights to those in Guatemala without.
Images © Quetsol