Entrepreneur Juan Fermín Rodriguez is a big believer in leaping over
dirty technology and is working to bring solar power to poor rural
families in Guatemala, where 20 percent of the population lives without
nighttime lighting. His startup company, Quetsol,
operates under a Pay-As-You-Go model that allows customers to pay a
small monthly fee for the use of a solar panel system capable of
powering lights and charging cellphones. For most families, the lease
payments for their solar panels ends up being less than they had been
paying for candles, kerosene and cellphone charging. So not only do
Quetsol customers save money but they also enjoy the benefits of cleaner
air. Indoor air pollution is a major cause of asthma and other
deleterious health affects in many homes in the developing world, a
result of using kerosene, oil, and wood for heating and lighting, so
solar panels can go a long way toward alleviating this particular burden
of poverty.

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