New Field Partner: Bringing solar power to rural families and schools with IluMexico

Welcome IluMexico -- Kiva's newest Field Partner bringing solar power and light to families living off the grid.

Did you know that 3 million people -- that's 600,000 households -- live without electricity in Mexico? Most of them are indigenous people who live in rural areas so small and remote that the government has no plans to connect them to the grid. Think of all the hours of productivity lost.

On top of that, these households currently spend between 10 and 15% of their monthly income on sources of energy that are not only pricey but toxic and low-quality: kerosene, diesel, candles. Every year, thousands of people suffer from respiratory illnesses and burns from these products -- most of them children.

These are the problems that IluMexico is working to solve. By providing home solar systems, it hopes to displace dirty and dim sources of energy with a cheaper, cleaner alternative.

IluMexico's solar systems come in a range of sizes -- from 10 W for 2 LED lights and USB phone charging (pictured below) to 60 W to run a television, radio and other appliances. The largest systems can even power computer centers and satellite internet for schools, solar water pumping, refrigeration for local medical clinics and more.

To date, IluMexico has worked in 11 Mexican states and 100 communities, installing 1,700 home systems and lighting 10 schools and 4 community centers. This has a tremendous ripple effect. Not only do the organization's solar systems improve health and lower risk of fire and injury, they also extend productivity hours -- including the time children can study for school.

So where does Kiva come in?

Kiva loans will enable low-income households to purchase IluMexico home solar systems. The organization has created groups of three borrowers each so they can cross-guarantee each other to avoid delinquency and default.

We love this idea because it gives us and IluMexico the chance to reach many more borrowers who don't have the collateral or credit history to get a loan elsewhere.

Interested in bringing clean, green energy to families is rural Mexico?

(Sorry if all loans are currently funded -- this is a popular partner! Stay tuned for more soon!)

Have questions? Send them our way at

Images courtesy of IluMexico.

About the author

Camille Ricketts

Camille brings her passion for storytelling to Kiva, where she helps create and curate online content. A longtime journalist, she started her career reporting on arts and culture for the Wall Street Journal in London and New York. In 2008, she joined San Francisco-based blog VentureBeat, writing about  green technology, policy and finance. Most recently, she worked in public relations for electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors. Outside of work, Camille volunteers as a web designer for maternal health nonprofit Saving Mothers. She holds a B.A. in women's history from Stanford University, where she also served as editor in chief of The Stanford Daily.