Mexican ‘Ejidos Solar’: a tool for development in rural communities

Fer­nan­do Ramones par­tic­i­pant of the COBENEFITS Online Train­ing, Mexico

In this part of our series Co-ben­e­fits Sto­ries, Fer­nan­do Ramones, who works at the Ini­cia­ti­va Climáti­ca de Méx­i­co (ICM), tells how the deploy­ment of renew­ables improved liv­ing con­di­tions in region­al com­mu­ni­ties. For this series, we have asked ener­gy pro­fes­sion­als that have par­tic­i­pat­ed in our train­ings for their thoughts and expe­ri­ences on co-ben­e­fits of renew­able ener­gy in their country.

“I am very thank­ful for this assign­ment because cur­rent­ly, I work at the Ini­cia­ti­va Climáti­ca de Méx­i­co, an NGO ded­i­cat­ed to the dis­cussed top­ic.

One sub­na­tion­al solu­tion that has been devel­oped here at ICM is the con­cept of the Eji­do Solar. “Eji­dos” in Mex­i­co is a par­tic­u­lar land-shar­ing prop­er­ty fig­ure cre­at­ed at the begin­ning of the 20th cen­tu­ry, after the Mex­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion. The main premise is to help the Eji­dos to cre­ate addi­tion­al val­ue with the help of dis­trib­uted solar gen­er­a­tion. This prop­er­ty regime resem­bles a coop­er­a­tive scheme, com­bin­ing small land plots for indi­vid­u­als and devot­ing a por­tion of the prop­er­ty for com­mu­ni­ty use. In some regions of Mex­i­co, these Eji­dos have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to use the extra land not used for the pro­duc­tion of crops, approx­i­mate­ly one hectare, to deploy around 499 KW installed capac­i­ty of dis­trib­uted solar gen­er­a­tion. The rea­son behind this capac­i­ty is that, based on the cur­rent legal frame­work, if you are bound by that amount, you don’t need the extra bureau­cra­cy nec­es­sary for the prop­er pow­er plant gen­er­a­tors.

For a sub­na­tion­al enti­ty the pro­posed mech­a­nism is to con­vert itself into a qual­i­fied user and in that man­ner buy the elec­tric­i­ty gen­er­at­ed by the Eji­do Solar. This caus­es a vir­tu­ous effect, pro­mot­ing the devel­op­ment of these regions and the deploy­ment of renew­able ener­gy in the form of dis­trib­uted solar gen­er­a­tion. This action pro­duces sev­er­al socioe­co­nom­ic ben­e­fits: an increase of jobs in the Eji­do and an increase in the tech­ni­cal capa­bil­i­ties of the peo­ple that live in the Eji­do, which reg­u­lar­ly are iso­lat­ed from the eco­nom­ic poli­cies of the coun­try. To see the poten­tial of this pol­i­cy: cur­rent­ly, 32,000 Eji­dos exist in Mex­i­co accord­ing to the Nation­al Agrar­i­an Registry.”

Based on insights of the COBENEFITS research group, the Renew­ables Acad­e­my (RENAC) cur­rent­ly con­ducts train­ings in Turkey, Kenya, South Africa and Mex­i­co. Par­tic­i­pants learn about co-ben­e­fits of renew­able ener­gy in cli­mate change mit­i­ga­tion, tools to quan­ti­fy and com­mu­ni­cate social and eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ties and poli­cies and instru­ments to mobilise them.