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.
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.