Solar Lights Haiti Schools, Powers Businesses

When a devastating 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010 and killed more than 316,000 people, countries around the world sent humanitarian aid and rescue teams. But with much of the impoverished nation left without power, energy companies were busy finding ways to send what they could as well.

Soon after the quake, New Jersey-based NRG Energy—through the Clinton Global Initiative—pledged $1 million for new solar power installations in Haiti as part of an effort to help the country back to its feet. This month, NRG CEO David Crane (far left in the image below) and former President Bill Clinton toured two completed solar projects that are creating green power for a recovering Haiti.

image via NRG Energy

The program is called The Sun Lights the Way: Brightening Boucan Carré and will eventually include solar installations at two fish farms and 20 schools.

“Solar power makes absolutely perfect sense in a country that suffers from low electrification rates, high dependency on fossil fuels and high supply prices,” Crane said in a company statement [PDF].

The first of the completed projects is a 14,490-watt system, made of 63 solar photovolatic (PV) panels and a battery energy storage system, that powers the Lashto Fish Farm 24 hours a day, seven days a week, under normal weather conditions. Caribbean Harvest, which operates the fish hatchery, uses the power to run the fish tank’s air filtration system

The second is a 2,760-watt, 12-panel installation at the Bon Berger du Domond School that also includes a backup battery system for the school’s lights, computers and electric piano. The school is also used for adult literacy classes at night, when almost all of the power comes from power that is stored in the battery system during the day.

Shifra Mincer is a freelance journalist and passionate tweeter (@Shiframincer) currently living in Israel. Before moving to Israel to apprentice with a homebirth midwife, Shifra worked as Associate Editor of AOL Energy, and was a member of the launch team that got the site up and running. Shifra has over a half a decade of experience in journalism and has written on women's health, green technology, politics and regulation of the energy industry, energy financial news, and local news. While studying for her B.A. at Harvard College, Shifra worked as a news editor for the Harvard Crimson. Shifra is also a yoga teacher and a birth doula and is hoping to create an active Jewish birth community through her web venture www.layda.org.

    • Ricardo Hatiano

      Every new things in Haiti looks nice , this is a nice pic,