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Solar energy turning Jalisco green

October 10, 2012

eSun Solar Energy Mexico Photo (2)

With year-round sunshine and rising electricity rates, more and more people in Jalisco are turning to solar energy.

Jalisco is home to more solar panels than any other Mexican state, and the majority of these are found in the expat community at Lakeside.

The Lake Chapala area has become known as the “solar capital of Mexico,” says Jsun Mills, a Californian who founded eSun Energy in Ajijic around five years ago. eSun has another office in Guadalajara and in January opened a third outlet in Puerto Vallarta to tend to clients on the coast from Colima up to Nayarit.

“Most clients are members of the expat community but we are doing a lot of projects with Mexican nationals as well,” he says, adding that they install most solar panels in homes, “because that’s where the best economic returns are.”

Installation costs depend on geography, Mills explains, with houses on the coast typically using much more electricity (mostly on air conditioning) and requiring more panels than those inland.

In Guadalajara or Chapala, installation normally costs between 7,000 and 15,000 dollars, while on the coast it tends to vary from 10,000 to 20,000. Electricity bill savings are from 75 to 100 percent each year and it usually takes four to four-and-a-half years to make back the money invested.

“Everybody’s interested in using cleaner energy and making the world a better place,” Mills says, “but at the end of the day if the economics don’t make sense the vast majority will not invest.”

At first, education and information was the toughest challenge, he adds, but “in the last couple of years the numbers have begun to make sense,” making solar energy a much easier sell. It has also become easier to convince people to turn green because “the CFE (Federal Electricity Commission) keeps raising the electric rates.”

There was no solar energy market when he arrived here, says Mills, who has utilized his 14 years of experience in the industry to build such a market. As reward for his endeavor, eSun now has more panels installed than any other solar energy company in all of Mexico.

Despite a slight drop off in the summer months, “business is good” and the new Vallarta office is “going very well,” Mills says. In tourist areas business can be cyclical, he explains, with the winter bringing more “snowbird” clients to the Lakeside and coastal areas, “but we stay busy even through the low season.”

Another potential problem eSun has overcome is the fact that the “CFE is supposed to provide digital meters but they typically don’t have them,” Mills says. “So what we did is go out and buy them directly from the manufacturer and we turn them into the CFE on behalf of our clients.

“It’s really a very simple process now. It used to take three or four months and now the installation usually takes two to four days and the entire project is finished in less than two weeks.”

In recent weeks, Mills has been busy attending five national and international expos on solar energy. At Solar Panel International, the largest such expo in the Americas, he “gave the first ever technical training in solar energy in the United States, all in Spanish, with 20 participants from seven countries.”

Mills is clearly proud of his work, keenly pointing out that “all of our businesses are making more than 100 percent of our electricity” and have even built up surplus credit with the CFE.

Among eSun’s rivals in the solar energy sector is e2 Energias, founded four-and-a-half years ago by Guadalajara-born Guillermo Corona Jazo and German citizen Frank Weiss. Their primary product is interconnected photovoltaic (solar panel) systems, although they also install solar thermal collectors for heating water or warming swimming pools.

With offices in Guadalajara, Puebla and Morelia, e2 also operates in Puerto Vallarta, Cocula, Queretaro and Oaxaca. They have sold solar panel systems to around 280 clients nationwide, of whom about 190 are from Jalisco, including 120 in Lakeside, Corona says.

“Two years ago there was more demand in Lakeside but there’s now more of a boom in Guadalajara, although obviously it’s a bigger city,” he adds.

Corona is proud of his company’s “quality product,” noting that all e2 systems use Sharp technology and are guaranteed for 25 years. Sharp is a world leader in solar cell production, a manufacturer that will still be going strong in 25 years, unlike other rivals with less weight and experience behind them, he suggests.

Similarly, Mills notes that “over the years we’ve seen many manufacturers come and go.” Referring to eSun’s Bosch technology, he says “we may not be the cheapest but we’re using the best quality.”

Both Corona and Mills agree that “word of mouth” is crucial in the industry, with customers quick to recommend companies that offer a good service or badmouth those who do not.

“We pride ourselves on our attention to service,” Corona says. “We don’t want them to have any problems, we want them to be 100 percent satisfied.”

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Ralph permalink
    March 1, 2013 04:30

    I’ve used e2 Energias at my home, they’re great from beggining to end, my electric bill went from $5,000 pesos, to less than $100, thank you Guillermo!

  2. Derrick permalink
    May 19, 2014 20:13

    My fiancé and I are looking to build a new home and have it completely run off a solar power system. We live in morelia michoacan and are having a hard time finding installers, designers, etc… For a home which we plan to start building this year.

    Any info or services you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Here is my email :

    Thanks so much !

    • May 20, 2014 05:04

      Hi Derrick, thanks for reading. Unfortunately the companies mentioned in the story are the only ones i know of but I don’t think either operates in Michoacan. You could try contacting them though, they may know of someone that can help you out!

  3. Rita permalink
    March 29, 2015 19:39

    I love your article and agree 100 % in going green. I have a question for you. Can people build ” green ” in Mexico. For example can one build a strawbale house or Earthbag house. Would this comply with Mexico’s building codes..??

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