Companies Unite to Bring Solar Power to El Santuario Hogar Guadalupano, A.C.

By Jack Sheridan

Santuario Hogar Guadalupano, also known as Casa Hogar Mexiquito, has as its mission to serve the needs of the region’s orphaned youth. Originally founded in 1967 by Father Fray Jose de Guadalupe Mojica, a famous Mexican operatic singer and actor, the facility currently houses 35 children ages 1 through 14, and has been home to hundreds of children during its 50-year history. In addition to food, shelter, and education, the nuns of the Dominicas de Maria at Mexiquito provide a loving family environment in which the boys can grow and thrive, with the goal of achieving their dreams when they leave the institution.

The needs of the facility are many and ongoing. Eliminating expenses serves the same goal as procuring donations for food, clothing, facility maintenance, etc. One unavoidable expense is the facility’s power bill. CFE is generous with the rate structure, but still, the power is not free. Mexiquito’s average monthly power bill is 5,000 pesos. The first phase to reduce the power bill was to replace the facility’s light bulbs with energy efficient LEDs. Much of that has been accomplished, and with these bulbs in place the energy usage has dropped dramatically. Local hardware supplier Don Pedro provided very low cost pricing for those bulbs and members of the San Juan de Dios Church and the Charity Bingo players supported this particular cost.

To eliminate the remainder of the facility’s power bill, local solar company Eclipse Solar enlisted the aid of regional leaders in the solar industry: Solartec, manufacturer of solar panels based in Irapuato; Enphase, a manufacturer of cutting edge micro-inverters; Refacsol, a Mexican national company in the supply of energy equipment locally based in Querétaro; Electricistas García, an outstanding electrical contractor here in San Miguel de Allende; and Ferreteria Don Pedro, also in San Miguel. The six companies have generously participated in the project. The proposed solar array at nine kilowatts, while small by industry standards, will be the largest solar installation to date in San Miguel de Allende. Over the more than 20-year life expectancy of the installation, the solar array will produce 425 megawatt hours of electricity, a savings of over 950,000 pesos at current rates, plus providing an added benefit of a carbon offset of more than 325 tons, saving the equivalent of 8,000 trees and producing the equivalent power for 14,000 houses for a day. It does make a difference. Mexiquito Solar Project will have a threefold effect, preserving Mexico’s major resources: energy, helping the environment, and making the world a better place for future generations.

For safety and efficiency, the most practical site on the grounds for the installation of the solar array was on the roof of the church. The roof surface was cleaned; new waterproofing applied, and then the solar array was installed. The project has been completed and the resulting savings in monthly bills will be much appreciated, as other things directly affecting the wellbeing of the kids will be provided. A heartfelt thanks to Oscar Torres of Voces Inocentes, whose movie screening back in February raised enough funds to complete this project.

In the current climate, where people are canceling donations to charities due to news of bloated CEO salaries and extraordinary administrative expenses, it is refreshing to find an organization where every peso received directly benefits the children for which it was intended. As a cause to support, Mexiquito is without rival. What a great way to celebrate the orphanage’s 50th anniversary and make a generous and wonderful gift!

 

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