Appropriate Technology Collaborative

The Appropriate Technology Collaborative creates sustainable technologies that promote economic growth and improve the quality of life for low income people worldwide. We design, demonstrate, and distribute affordable technologies. Working in collaboration with local talent and other nonprofits (NGOs) we create solutions that are culturally sensitive, environmentally responsible and locally repairable in order to improve the quality of life and reduce adverse impacts on the environment.
Jun 25, 2014

June 25th Microsoft Matching Funds

Installing Larger Solar Project
Installing Larger Solar Project

June 25, after noon EST Microsoft will match your donation to ATC:

Microsoft is matching 100% all donations to ATC! With your help we can provide light to over 16,000 people every year! On Wed. June 25th after 12:00 noon EST please donate to ATC. 

All donations will help us start solar businesses owned and run by Mayan Women. From experience each business will sell over 1,000 home solar power systems per year, making money for the businesses, saving money for each household and creating a cleaner future for us all.

More information is available in the attached brochure:

Our Guatemalan team, SEA, has been working to develop a richer curriculum that uses a variety of solar panels.  In addition to providing solar lights to homes that lack electricity, there is a call for larger systems that can offset some of the cost of electricity in Guatemala.  

Guatemala has a multi-tiered system where the first bit of electricity is pretty inexpensive, but then the costs go up dramatically.  Even people with very low incomes and low electric usage end up paying the higher fees.  SEA has developed a large solar panel that offsets a significant amount of electric current and saves families a lot of money.  

We will have much more on these slightly larger systems soon.  SEA is working with a non-profit that builds houses in low income communities and they are interested in 40 - 80 watt systems.  

Here in the U.S. we are working on a second year curriculum that will reinforce what students learn in year  one plus it will add a section on transistors.  (Transistors are really easy to teach, I'm surprised we don't teach this here)

I will be back in Guatemala in July, we have a group who will be installing solar in August.  

More soon,


Installing the Voltage Controller and Inverter
Installing the Voltage Controller and Inverter


Jun 10, 2014

Growing our Successful Program

Our next business is waiting for funding.
Our next business is waiting for funding.

We have been very successful so far with our Mayan Power and Light program.  We have taught 200 people about solar power, including over 100 Mayan women.  We have started a solar business that is profitable, 90% owned by women, and we are ready to start two 100% woman owned solar businesses in 2014, but we can only do this with your help.

Actually we have extra help on June 25th, when -- after 12:00 noon -- Microsoft Youthspark has agreed to match every grant we receive up to $1,000 per grant and up to $1,000,000 for the program.  From historic data we should have all June 25th to match the Microsoft money.

Please share this with your friends.  We want to start two new Mayan woman owned solar businesses.  This will provide income to 12 families + provide light to 2,000 families every year.  ATC will be working with the businesses for 5 years to insure they are profitable and that they can help start other sustainable businesses.  

With your help we can greatly enhance the lives of 10,000 people per year, every year for at least 5 years.

Women who earn extra income invest more in their families.  Their children receive better nutrition and with better light they do their homework in the evenings for the first time.  

Mark June 25th on your calendar.  On June 25th after 12:00 noon, Microsoft Youthspark will be matching donations to the ATC Mayan Power and Light program up to $1,000 for each donation.

We have been incredibly successful with teaching young Mayan women about electricity, circuits and solar power.  In January we started our first woman owned* solar business, Sistemas Energeticas Appropriadas (SEA).  SEA works out of Xela, the second largest city in Guatemala.  I visited SEA in May and helped install a 40 watt solar power system on a church/community center.  The transformation from no electricity to having bright LED lights is powerful, and amazing to watch a building become a very well used community center.  In the past most meetings were called off at dusk.  In Guatemala that is often around 6:00 pm.  With electric lights people can organize!  

If you ever want to see our work in Guatemala please check out travel with ATC on our website.  We take 6 - 10 groups to visit Guatemala every year.  The trips are volunteer work trips, so be prepared to get your hands muddy, learn about electricity and meet a great group of people who make all our Guatemalan projects work.  

Thank you for considering this,

Please don't forget June 25th


Mayan Women Teach "Circuits and Solar"
Mayan Women Teach "Circuits and Solar"
Wiring the Solar Control Panel
Wiring the Solar Control Panel
Learning To Install Multiple Solar Panels
Learning To Install Multiple Solar Panels


Mar 6, 2014

Success and Sustainability

Learning Solar
Learning Solar


As I write this today we just finished installing solar power on a pre-school in the village of Panyebar, Guatemala. The building had no electricity.  In cloudy weather the classrooms were very dark.  Now the building is a community center.  Women are already signed up to work collaboratively in the evening hours to weave and do needle-point work so they have more to sell in the market.  Community members have arranged for meetings at night to discuss how to improve their lives.  All of this is possible because of you and your generous support of what we now call our Mayan Power and Light program.

The ATC Mayan Power and Light program has had the great fortune to have an dedicated and capable team in Guatemala helping us realize our very ambitious goals.  We set out to achieve much and we have acomplished more than expected in a very busy 18 months.

Project Outcomes as of March 4, 2014:

The Appropriate Technology Collaborative Mayan Power and Light program original goals were :

• To teach 24 – 36 Guatemalan women about electricity, circuit design and solar technology.

We taught 83 young Mayan women the "Circuits and Solar" curriculum.

• Trained 8 women mentors in the Circuits and Solar curriculum.

We have trained 13 women mentors.

• Conducted a workshop in the United States for nonprofit organizations and others to learn the Circuits and Solar curriculum.

Completed October 2012

• Started a Mayan women’s solar power business that will sell solar lighting and power systems to households and small businesses.

We started SEA Solar, a majority woman owned business in December 2013.

• Conducted a workshop in Guatemala for NGOs to learn the “Circuits and Solar” curriculum and how to incubate solar power businesses.

We conducted a workshop for other NGOs in August 2013

Circuits and Solar students have:

• Installed over 50 home energy systems.

• Worked with Business students to create a business plan for a solar power social venture.

• Participated in a hands-on workshops to install solar power on at least one municipal building. 

The Mayan Power and Light Program Continues

The Mayan Power and Light program has been very well received.  We now have over 100 students on the waiting list for the educational program, and we have two groups who have been pre-qualified for starting solar social ventures.  

We need your continued support to provide business plans, start-up capital, continued education and solar inventory.  

We are asking to please help us fully fund this Global Giving campaing.  When we reach our goal of $20,000 we will be able to support two new businesses.  Each business will help 1,000 families per year switch from burning candles and kerosene lamps, which is expensive, to inexpensive solar power.  The business we started in December is making great sales and they are willing to help us start new woman owned businesses in other parts of Guatemala and beyond.  

Your help is critical to our success.  It has made all the difference so far.

Thank you,

John Barrie, Executive Director

The Appropriate Technology Collaborative

Carpentry Workshop
Carpentry Workshop
Graduating Class
Graduating Class


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