EarthSpark International Receives OPEC Fund’s Annual Award for Development

We’re pleased to share that EarthSpark International has been awarded a $100,000 prize for its work to provide access to clean, reliable energy to communities throughout Haiti. Its SparkMeter technology, which allows consumers to pre-purchase electricity from energy providers, is a useful HOMER component partner.

The OPEC Fund recently announced that EarthSpark International, a non-profit organization committed to expanding energy access in Haiti, is the recipient of the 2020 OPEC Fund Annual Award for Development. The award recognizes EarthSpark’s innovative solutions addressing energy access and climate-related issues in Haiti.

Solar-generated electricity powers streetlights in Les Anglais, Haiti. | Credit: EarthSpark International

Each year, the OPEC Fund’s Annual Award recognizes an individual or organization demonstrating excellence in poverty reduction and sustainable development with a US$100,000 award. The OPEC Fund is committed to supporting developing countries in their pursuit of social, environmental, and economic progress. 

EarthSpark International’s work in Haiti, where about 75 percent of people lack access to electricity, has paved the way for a national microgrid plan by establishing two solar-powered community microgrids that serve about 4,000 people. EarthSpark developed Haiti’s first privately operated microgrid in Les Anglais, a small town on Haiti’s south coast. It provides 93 kWp of solar-generated electricity to 493 community members who previously used kerosene, candles, biomass, and charcoal to meet their energy needs. A second grid, partially funded by an OPEC Fund grant, went online in the nearby town of Tiburon in 2019. 

Staff members repair metering equipment. | Credit: EarthSpark International

The organization is currently working to develop 22 more microgrids in Haiti by 2024 that will provide a wider sphere of energy access through electrified businesses. The transition to clean energy will reduce CO2 emissions, benefit community economics, and improve local air quality. The prize money from the OPEC Fund award will support core operations as the organization raises the US$40 million needed to deploy these additional systems.  

Prior to launching the Les Anglais microgrid, EarthSpark developed a specialized metering system to support its energy provision efforts. Its SparkMeter technology allows grid users in Haiti to prepay, purchasing electricity credits in small quantities as needed. As a result, payment efficiency is high, theft is low, and many grid-connected households are now saving up to 80 percent of what they once spent on other means of lighting, phone charging, and other basic energy services. SparkMeter, a HOMER component partner, has now sold over 100,000 meters in more than 25 countries.