In order to improve the quality of life on hundreds of Tarahumara families, the Mexican Association of Solar Energy (Asolmex) and the Fundación del Empresariado Chihuahuense (FECHAC), started the Ilumínate Program in communities of Guachochi, in the Sierra Tarahumara.https://www.asolmex.org/
With the collaboration of the Chihuahua Government, the Ilumínate Program, promoted by Asolmex, seeks to socialize the benefits of solar energy in the most isolated regions of the state. The objective is to help close the marginalization gap of vulnerable groups and reduce the risk of respiratory diseases caused by the burning of biomass and fossil fuels inside homes.
The Program, which in the first instance covers the Sierra Tarahumara, includes the delivery to the housewives (free of charge) of an electrification kit that contains a solar panel, three LED lamps with integrated batteries (with USB input to charge mobile devices and radios) and enough cable to install the system on the roof of homes. The batteries last up to 20 hours and have a lifespan of more than five years.
The first stage includes 200 solar equipment in the mountains of Chihuahua, which are being distributed by Captar A.C., a civil association that has a strong roots in the area. After an initial evaluation of the Program, it is expected to distribute 2,000 additional equipments.
Data from the Secretary of Energy (Sener) indicate that currently more than two million people in Mexico do not have access to electricity in their homes. In Chihuahua, 5% of the population still lives in electrical lag, despite having excellent solar radiation.
The president of Asolmex, Hector Olea, led the delivery of the first solar kits and indicated that "the objective of the program is to bring light to the most marginalized households in the state, which will positively impact the development and well-being of mountain communities. The lack of electric light is one of the biggest factors of social marginalization, Ilumínate is designed to mitigate this condition in a technically and economically viable way “.
For his part, Hector Jurado, president of the Board of Directors of FECHAC, said that "the Foundation promotes this type of projects, because it meets the social needs of the Chihuahua communities, generating a lasting impact and easily replicable in different mountain communities." He also expressed that, in conjunction with other organizations, such as Asolmex and Captar, comprehensive solutions are being implemented for the problems facing the Chihuahuas in their environment.
With the participation of José Luis Ibarra, from the Energy Directorate; Octavio Prieto, from the Social Economy Directorate; and, Raúl Terrazas, of the State Commission of Indigenous Peoples (COEPI), the Government of Chihuahua coordinates the work of linking and interinstitutional support of this initiative.