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Roughly 520,000 households in Guatemala lack access to light (over one-fifth of the population). The result? Adults can’t do productive work after sunset, kids can’t do homework, fumes from candles compromise the respiratory health of those in the home while posing ongoing risks of burns and fire. Beyond that, candles are expensive — in a given month, a family spends approximately $20 on them. Enter Quetsol, bringing a renewable lighting solution to rural Guatemalans and partnering with local microfinance institutions to ensure the cost is on par with that of candles (in fact, a Quetsol unit eventually becomes a much more economical option given its lifespan). And a single unit lights the whole room. It also serves as a power source for charging cell phones, and, in the upcoming version, will be strong enough to power a computer. Quetsol’s solution is about increasing capacity and connectedness, and improving the scope of — indeed, casting a broader light on — possibilities for the country’s citizens.

What They Do: 

Provide affordable renewable energy solutions (primarily solar-based) to the poorest, most remote regions of Guatemala — communities that would otherwise lack access to electricity. Through innovative products and the latest technology, Quetsol satisfies energy needs in a sustainable manner at a lower economic, environmental, and social cost.

Why They Do It:

Quetsol’s mission is to improve its customers’ quality of life by providing appropriate technology solutions that meet any type of energy need. They differ from the competition in that their main priority is to provide solutions to the base of the pyramid. They partner with local microfinance institutions to make this strategy feasible.

How They Make an Impact:

Manuel and Juan, Quetsol’s founders, are motivated by the implications access to power has for those who, until now, have lacked it (safety, business productivity, education). To measure their social impact concretely, they track:

  • Systems sold
  • Beneficiaries (number of people with light)
  • MW produced


Where They’re Heading:

Quetsol aims to bring light to the massive number of Guatemalan homes still without it and then expand into other Latin American countries, where market and distribution dynamics are fairly similar. They intend to grow in concert with increases in microfinance resources, which, as mentioned, will afford their target customers the means to purchase their products.