first time he has light in
his tin-walled home - 2011
lights vs. candles!
are photos of a live test we
did in our kitchen one evening
photos were taken in quick succession. The first photo is of
3 'candles worth' of light on our
counter. Click each photo to
enlarge (note the reflection of
the red candle on the stove in
the rear of each photo).
second photo is solar unit switched
on! What an amazing difference!
average family spends between
$15 and $20 p/m on
and the 'cost' of running
two traditional light bulbs
on the national grid is
about $20 per month. And,
if you don't have power at
home, you have to pay to have
a cellphone charged.
Quetsol Portable Solar is
clearly the sustainable solution.
INVEST IN A SOLAR UNIT
LIGHT A MAYAN VILLAGE
Updates from 2013: We visited this village several
times and the
manufacturer of the units performed a free service on
all of the
installed units. We are currently fundraising to help
purchase replacement batteries for some of their solar
Update March, 2012: With the help of 'A Better
World' on Facebook
we are going to light the school building in Mano de
Leon with a
large solar installation. Photos of the First
Solar School here!
Update December, 2011: We installed one more unit
this month and
also put a single solar light in the corn mill where
Pedro the miller
had been working for the past several years by
November 3, 2011: We have had 2 more trips to the
to check on the status of the units. All are working
well except for
one in which we replaced a battery (under warranty). We
plan to return
again just before Christmas with 3 more units and toys.
If you would
like to help please visit or donation page.
August 29, 2011: On our fourth visit to Mano de Leon
solar units were installed, this time with the help of
the good folks
over at the GodsChild Project. This Mayan village is located in the middle
of a well-known and wealthy 'fair trade' coffee plantation where all 18
families lives like animals in shacks built from corn stalks and tin roofing.
They have no running water, no light, one teacher for all grades of 50 kids.
We have been gathering donations to supply this village with solar light,
a nice options to candles. More photos here
on our Facebook page
July 21, 2011: We returned a third time to the village of Mano de
and installed a further 3 units that were donated by
Quetsol (the importers/
designers of the unit). There are 11 of 18 families now
who have solar light.
There are photos of this visit here
and to donate a unit, please see the links
above. Thank you for all your support thus far in this
February 11, 2011: We completed the first phase of the
in the village of Mano de Leon. For more photos, please
November 23, 2010: Help
us, and Dona Maria Fidelia,
the elder of Mano de Leon to light
her Mayan village of eighteen families. She is one of two elders in this
community. The native language is the Mayan dialect of Kaqchikel
-to-day communication is in Spanish.
Watch a video with Maria
Fidelia, the village leader, talking about what
it is like to live without light and what it
will be like to have light.
light the entire village we need 8 solar units,
which will power 24 bulbs
for about 3.5 - 4 hours per day.
You can read more on these innovative
portable solar units below.
CAN INVEST IN a complete unit for
$275 USD. And
donation will help us reach our goal!! Thank
village is called Mano de Leon (Hand of the Lion - after
flower common to Central America). Currently there
are about 125 people
living here. The men and children work mostly in the
coffee fields or
view on the way
Walking down into the village Setting
up a demo.
de Leon has never had power. They have a local spring
which they draw water and carry it to the central
washing area and
to each home for cooking and cleaning. There are no
were given an escort by local police, to protect things we take
for granted... like our
and sunglasses. Photo to right is of Debora exiting a home
of one of the elders.
elevation is 6,600 feet, that's about 1,400 feet above the
level at which
you can find public transportation. Yet, despite the fact
that it is only 3
the nearest town, it takes 40 minutes to drive up to Mano de Leon by 4x4.
The road is very steep and winding.
This also means that if the villagers
want to visit the nearest town, the round trip is over 4
hours of walking.
the village, planning out where the solar units can be
placed with Alex who works
with the community service team of the GodsChild
Project. Last photo is the elder Maria
carrying the demo solar unit back up to the last
place we could park.
in a complete unit for $275 USD or any part of that
every investment will help us reach our goal!! Thank
DETAILS ON THE SOLAR UNITS
of us with high-speed internet access take for granted that
have access to light.
over 60% of the population of Guatemala live
rural sections of
the country. Rural here starts within fifteen minutes of major towns
villages. Estimates place the number of homes
without power somewhere
around 500,000. Considering the size of the average family,
people in the dark after sundown. And, most of these people have no
light and not much hope of getting access to the national
In a country where there is about 12 hours of
s a lot of darkness.
This Solar Lighting project has four main goals:
- Provide widespread awareness of Portable
Solar Lighting Units. - Provide employment in the promotion of the
- Provide access to micro-credit (through Genesis
Funding) for the units.
- Provide access to private donations so that no
family is left in the dark.
THE PORTABLE SOLAR UNIT Cost:
Same prices as candles for a year!
Provides 5 hours of light on 2 standard bulbs (5W LED) on
a one-day charge.
or 4 hours of light on 3 bulbs.
Unit is product of a Harvard graduate and his partner,
both from Guatemala.
The product is guaranteed for 3 years (local support # on the
A national bank will provide micro-credit
nationwide with ID of owner.
First year cost to owner is about what they are spending
on candles, (6Q p/d (70c)
is Q2,190 per year) after that the light is free! VIDEO In
Guatemala - Lighting the Jungle with the Sun:
Watch an English
the founders of this product. These
Portable Solar Units are the brainchild of Antonio Aguilar, a Guatemalan
graduate of Harvard University and his partner Juan
also a native and graduate of Universidad
Francisco Marroquín in
Both Antonio and Juan have several years of (large
experience in the USA and recently returned home to
start this work.
Their company, Quetsol,
founded in 2009, is
a start-up renewable energy company based in Lake Atitlán,
Guatemala. Quetsol's mission is to support integral community and urban
development by making renewable technology solutions
affordable, specializing in products that maximize human
impact at highly competitive prices.
Quetsol provides low-cost and effective solar
solutions to meet the basic energy demands of some of
Guatemala’s poorest citizens.
goal of this project is to change that by providing Quetsol
Solar Powered Light Kits and Quetsol Solar Powered Generators
on a microloan basis.
More on Quetsol: Quetsol is a start-up renewable energy company based in Lake Atitlán,
Guatemala. Quetsol provides low-cost and effective solar
solutions to meet the basic energy demands of some of
Guatemala’s poorest citizens. Their products
allow customers access to basic services that had
previously been prohibitively-expensive, reduce their
economic and health costs and provide them with the
tools for energy independence.
Though their product
line is mostly photovoltaic to begin with, they have
plans to expand to other energy sources and applications
and ultimately provide a wide variety of renewable
energy solutions to a wide spectrum of end users and
industries. Quetsol’s long-term goal is to become
a leader in Latin America and globally in the
implementation, development and promotion of renewable
energy solutions across all levels of the demand
About Guatemala: Guatemala
is a republic. It is 108,890 square kilometers (42,042 square
miles), that is about the size of Virginia, half the size of the
UK and a little bigger than Ireland. Guatemala is the next country
south of Mexico and with a population of 14 million people, it is
the second most densely populated country in Central America.
our work and education programs by making a
donation below: The
Integral Heart Foundation is a U.S. Registered