EarthSpark Inaugurates Haitian Microgrid, Plans 79 More by 2020

On June 1, 2015, EarthSpark International inaugurated the EKo Pwòp microgrid which provides clean, reliable power to 430 homes and businesses in downtown Les Anglais in the South of Haiti. The newly installed grid is powered by a state-of-the-art hybrid generation system, which includes a 93kW solar PV array, 450 kWh of battery capacity, and a small diesel backup generator. The system is also serviced by SparkMeter smart meters which enable customers to pre-pay for electricity and shift load limits, a ‘smart’ system that facilitates metering and billing and enables a more efficient grid operations.

With 75% of the population of Haiti currently lacking electricity access, this town-sized, solar-powered, microgrid is providing residents and businesses in Les Anglais with clean, affordable, reliable electricity from a grid that can serve as a model to be refined and replicated in other rural towns across the country.

EarthSpark’s initial grid development began in 2012 with initial funding from Naitonal Geographic and from the Government of Norway through the UN and Coalition partners “Côte Sud Initiative (CSI). Through a partnership with Digicel, Haiti’s largest telecommunications company, EarthSpark was able to tap into underutilized capacity from the generator powering the telecommunications tower in Les Anglais to serve its initial customers who had previously relied on expensive kerosene lamps and diesel generators for lighting and electricity.

Now the grid is powered by sunshine. The construction of the solar hybrid generation system and the expansion of service from 54 to 430 customers was made possible by a United States Agency for International Development grant from Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development.  Powering Agriculture supports sustainable approaches to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy solutions for increasing agricultural productivity and value in developing countries.  With over half of the downtown residents of Les Anglais working in the agricultural sector, EarthSpark is working with local agricultural entrepreneurs to ensure that increased electricity access translates into sustainable economic development.

Additional funding came from Linkin Park’s Power the World campaign, the 11th Hour Project, the United Nations Foundation, and individual donors.

EarthSpark will use the Les Anglais project as a model for the installation of future grids in Haiti. On May 21, 2015, at the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Forum, EarthSpark and its Haitian social enterprise spin-off, Enèji Pwòp, S.A. announced a joint commitment to build 80 micro-grids in Haiti by the end of 2020.

Speaking from the small stage at the grid inauguration last week, M. Marc André Chrysostom, Energy Coordinator for the Ministry of Public Works, observed, “This solar hybrid grid is the first of its kind in Haiti. It is a very good model and should serve as a pilot to allow Haitian students and technicians to strengthen their capacities for rural electrification and microgrid.”

EarthSpark International is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization working as an incubator for clean energy enterprises that can deliver sustainable energy services in off-grid Haiti. EarthSpark is bringing together technology, business models, and community engagement to deliver clean, reliable, and affordable energy that is unlocking wealth and opportunities in rural Haitian towns. For more information visit www.earthsparkinternational.org

Enèji Pwòp, S.A. is a Haitian social enterprise launched in 2014 as a spin-off of EarthSpark International. It works closely with its non-profit parent organization and with local Haitian entrepreneurs and community leaders to increase access to clean and efficient energy products and services in underserved areas of Haiti. Enèji Pwòp has been involved in the development of EarthSpark’s micro-grid in Les Anglais, and took over operations and management of the grid in May 2015. For more information visit www.enejipwop.com.

Source: EarthSpark International

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