David Arelle
President and Chairman
ILIOSS / SolarCity Mexico
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View from the Top

Making Energy One Solar Panel at a Time

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 13:28

Q: Why did ILIOSS and SolarCity decide to join forces in the Mexican energy market?

A: ILIOSS was created four years ago after we identified numerous opportunities in the segment. ILIOSS started not only as a response to these opportunities but also because we had a responsibility as Mexicans to contribute to the development of the country. Although ILIOSS was already a large solar business in Mexico, its capacity to grow was limited due to the company’s financial status. The acquisition gave the combined firm the ability to become what we hope will be the most important player in the solar power industry in Mexico.

The country’s energy sector has endless opportunities and people are looking for alternatives to save money and are making an effort to use eco-friendly solutions. ILIOSS is already present in the commercial and industrial segments in Mexico, working alongside companies like Soriana. Now we want to follow SolarCity’s carefully designed business model and enter Mexico’s residential solar sector. SolarCity has installed solar systems with a capacity of nearly 2.1GW for more than 260,000 customers across the US as of the end of March 2016. Building solar systems on rooftops rather than on solar farms presents different opportunities and obstacles and it gives people the opportunity to make the shift to using sustainable energy in their own homes.

Q: What made ILIOSS the right choice for SolarCity?

A: There are many companies in Mexico that just install solar systems, which is a small section of the overall solar process. SolarCity chose us because we were the only company in the Mexican arena dedicated to selling energy. The process consists of engineering, maintenance, due diligence and finance sections that are all crucial to complete a quality installation. We make a strong team because SolarCity knows how to sell energy and we have the expertise and contacts to extend that business in Mexico.

This company is headed by energetic innovators with a common mission. ILIOSS began operating in both the industrial and commercial sectors with Soriana. SolarCity has achieved economies of scale and can secure extremely competitive rates for customers through vertical integration. All our employees must be certified by the “SolarCity University,” where they receive both technical and safety training to install our systems. Mexico has various advantages, one of them being that labor costs are lower than in many countries.

Q: How is SolarCity giving back to the community?

A: SolarCity will focus on specific areas in Mexico City, as well as commercial and industrial projects. To expand our presence, SolarCity will continue spreading light across the country through its GivePower Foundation. The foundation has been successful in countries around the globe including Nepal, Haiti, Nicaragua, Kenya, Mali and more, and now we will start here in Mexico.

For the foundation’s first big project, we are partnering with Soriana. Hidden between the mountains of northern Veracruz is a community called Huixtlamaya, which did not have access to energy. The daily lives of the community began with the sun’s rise and ended as soon as it set each day. We were excited about this project and when we arrived the community already had high expectations because Soriana had previously worked with them on another social project.

To reach this community, you come to Poza Rica and from there drive four hours down dirt roads. It then takes another hour to walk up the mountain. When we arrived, the community greeted us with a band and organized a banquet.

We want these projects to become an essential part of doing business in Mexico and we have been inviting other important companies to join in. We provided the community with enough solar energy for basic necessities and organized a committee that is led by women, who will be in charge of system maintenance. The company is excited to take part in these projects and knows that each solar power system that is installed in Mexico will contribute to a cleaner environment.