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Can solar panels help save Yucatán’s ‘tienditas’?

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
The cost of energy in Yucatán has long been a problem for businesses, especially small independent corner shops. Photo: Courtesy

The Yucatán small-business chamber of commerce is offering independent shop owners the opportunity to purchase solar panels through a new program.

The intention is to help small businesses continue to operate despite ever-increasing energy costs

The program is open to several types of business but targeted toward independent corner shops known locally as tienditas — literally small stores. 

Small-business owners will be able to purchase solar panels with no money down and a low-interest loan payable at the end of every month.

“The idea here is to help these types of businesses stay afloat as the cost of energy is making them more and more unfeasible every day,” said Jorge Cardeña Licona of Mérida’s small-business chamber of commerce. 

Solar panels have increased in popularity across Mexico over the past decade due to their relatively low cost and increased efficiency. 

Earlier: Mexico to build 2 new power plants in Yucatán

The arrival in the 1990s of large domestic and international franchised retail competitors has hurt tienditas, especially in larger urban areas. 

However, these small shops remain tremendously important in smaller communities as they are often the only source for several household goods.

In many communities, these shops also serve as important social hubs and oftentimes even set up small tables outside for the proprietors and customers to play cards, dominoes, or just talk about the town’s goings-on. 

Aside from rising energy costs, these small shops are also fighting ballooning inflation, as well as growing competition from corporate-run competitors.

Many of Mexico’s biggest companies including Bimbo and Telcel have begun to move away from the CFE in favor of greener alternatives.

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