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MiguelAngelHenriquez Castaneda
United States
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Miguel Angel Henriquez Castaneda is a visionary businessman with expertise in solar panel design and installation.

How Can Latin America Benefit from Solar Energy?

Miguel Angel Henriquez Castaneda designs and implements solar energy installations throughout the world with a focus on Latin America. He thinks developing nations are the best places to demonstrate how terrific alternative energy resources can be.

For one thing, power companies in developing nations aren't as entrenched as they are in industrialized nations. Power companies are likely to fight the implementation of alternative energy sources even when these sources are clearly more efficient. That's because it can be extremely expensive to implement new technology.

Miguel Angel Henriquez Castaneda also knows that infrastructure in developing nations is being built at a far more rapid rate. Solar installations work best on roofs that are less than 15 years old. There are fewer older structures in Latin America's dynamic new cities. That means there is more room for the potential benefits of solar power.

Latin America's five biggest economies are Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Columbia and Peru. All five of these nations have been dealing with inflation in one way or another. Inflation is a force that drags down the production, distribution and consumption of goods.

One of the biggest economic factors contributing to inflation is the escalating price of energy. It is true that solar panels can be initially expensive to install. Once they are in place, however, the costs of solar power production are lower than other types of energy production. There's another added advantage as well: Solar energy doesn't produce harmful greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.

Miguel Angel Henriquez Castaneda: A Well Educated Man

In his rich and varied career, Miguel Angel Henriquez Castaneda has often been employed in fields that require physical work. He has also worked in many capacities that required him to work primarily with his mind.

Right now, he is working as a contractor building solar energy installations. His level of expertise is so high that he is in great demand throughout Latin America and in many other parts of the world. Miguel's education, however, has also prepared him to work as a business manager, an educator and a researcher.

In 1997, Miguel received a baccalaureate in Business Psychology from New York City's Columbia University. Business psychology is a discipline that looks at why people make the consumption decisions they make. Even with all its advantages, solar energy can sometimes be a hard sell. Miguel often falls back on his business psychology background in his current post.

Miguel found business so intriguing that he continued studying it. In 1999, he graduated with a Master's degree in Business Administration from Columbia. Columbia University's MBA program is one of the most prestigious in the country. U.S. News and World Report currently ranks Columbia University's MBA program eighth in the nation.

Miguel has a passionate interest in the history of the Jewish people. In 2001, he was awarded a PhD in Theology from New York City's Yeshiva University. Yeshiva University combines a traditional liberal arts curriculum with the teachings of the Torah. In addition to receiving a PhD from Yeshiva University, Miguel also worked as an instructor there. He taught Jewish theology and Hebrew.

Miguel Angel Henriquez Castaneda did not end his educational ambitions with a single PhD, however. In 2004, he obtained a second doctorate from the Inter-American University at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. For this degree, he went back to psychology, his first love.

Dynamic Career Trajectory

Miguel Angel Henriquez Castaneda's broad education prepared him to work in many different capacities. For seven years, he was a trusted strategic advisor to Mexico's President Vincente Fox Quesada. He advised the President on trade issues, strengthening the economic ties between the United States and Mexico.

During this time, Miguel also worked on agricultural initiatives within Mexico. Produce plays a very important role in trade between the United States and Mexico. Nearly half of all tomatoes eaten in the United States come from Mexico. Miguel helped Mexican tomato farmers implement agricultural technology he first learned about while touring agricultural collectives in Israel.

In addition to working in the public sector, Miguel has been employed in high-level management positions throughout the private sector. For six years, Miguel was Chairman and President of GDS International Diamonds. He worked diligently, overseeing an operational team of over 50 people. Through the training and mentorship Miguel provided, these individuals were able to promote GDS International Diamonds' value proposition successfully. During Miguel's time in this position, GDS International Diamonds expanded into ten states.

Nonprofit Work

For many years, Miguel Angel Henriquez Castaneda served as the President of the Inter-American Jewish Institute. This organization was founded to promote closeness between people of Jewish faith throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Jews have a very rich history in Latin America. The oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere was built in 1636 in the Brazilian town of Recife. The building is still standing although it is no longer used for religious observances. The building was erected when the Dutch, known for their religious tolerance, still had control of the northern part of Brazil.

Today, there are 500,000 Jews living in various parts of Latin America, predominantly in Argentina and Brazil. Five million Jews live in the United States, while another 250,000 live in Canada. These people have many things in common, and Miguel's organization strove to make them more conscious of their commonalities.

Helping People Make the Alternative Energy Choice

Miguel has worked with many people over the years who want to switch to solar energy but didn't know how to begin. The costs of installing a solar power grid can be quite high, so Miguel understands why people are hesitant.

Solar energy is not a good choice for people who:

• Cannot afford the cost of solar panel installation and ongoing maintenance.

• Live in houses with roofs that are steeply angled.

• Are planning to replace their roofs within the next five years.

There is one myth about solar power that Miguel Angel Henriquez Castaneda is happy to dispel. Some people mistakenly believe that their roofs need to receive direct sunlight in order to be fitted for solar panels. This is not the case. While it's true that solar panels function most efficiently under direct sunlight, they'll still generate power in the shade. Solar panels will also generate power on cloudy days.

It is true, however, that initially it can be quite expensive to install solar panels. Miguel often advises private clients to wait for this installation until they are doing work on their roofs or are replacing their roofs.

On average, 100 square feet of solar panels will generate one kilowatt of solar energy. Depending upon a household's energy usage, solar panels will need to cover 300 to 600 square feet to function optimally.

In the United States, people who install solar panels receive significant tax advantages. This partially offsets the cost of installation. Once installed, monthly energy bills are only five to ten percent of what they were before solar energy panels were installed. People also have the satisfaction of knowing that they are helping the environment.

Miguel thinks there are practically no limits to what solar energy can be used for. In the long run, Miguel foresees a future in which solar energy is even used to propel automobiles. Miguel Angel Henriquez Castaneda notes some automobile manufacturers have already started incorporating solar panels into cars to power electrical functions like headlights.

A Business Visionary Looks at the Future of Solar Power

When solar power is implemented on a large scale, policies and cost benefit analyses are needed to calculate the return on the investment. Miguel Angel Henriquez Castaneda has done many of those calculations as they pertain to Latin American markets.

Miguel thinks Mexico is an ideal place for solar power projects because the returns will be high. Currently, the Mexican government is in the process of measuring solar radiation levels in various parts of the country. This information will be used to determine where major solar installations should be placed. The Mexican government allows solar producers to sell the energy they produce to the CFE, the government-approved electrical utility.

Elsewhere in Latin America, Miguel thinks solar power would be an ideal source of power for northern Chile. There are many copper mining operations in Chile, and they are always looking for cheap power sources. A cheap source of power would lower operational costs considerably. The region is very sunny, which means that solar panels would operate in northern Chile at maximum rates of efficiency. The Chilean government doesn't offer incentives to solar energy producers however, which Miguel thinks is a mistake.

Miguel is pleased to see that Brazil is adding solar panels to the soccer stadium in which the 2014 World Cup games will be held. The Brazilian government offers credits to solar energy producers who sell their energy to the grid.

Miguel Angel Henriquez Castaneda thinks Latin America has a huge renewable energy potential, but first individual governments must buy into the program. As economic development increases, the new emerging middle class will have higher energy demands. Electricity right now is relatively expensive throughout Latin America, but solar energy promises to bring associated costs down. Miguel Angel Henriquez Castaneda is thrilled to be a pioneer in an exciting enterprise that will soon transform the Western Hemisphere.

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