In Haiti, Solar Is Not Only About Saving Money, It Is About Saving Lives.
MAGE SOLAR, a turnkey solar PV-system provider, its installer partner Advanced Solar Industries, and students from Messiah College, have completed a 3.99kW rooftop installation on a health clinic in Haiti. Despite its small size, the system will dramatically impact the services of the clinic and offers reliable and consistent power to positively affect the well-being of staff and patients.
Nearly two years after the devastating earthquake power supply from the utility is still extremely unreliable and unpredictable, destroying anything from light bulbs to computers with inconsistent and low-voltage power. Exorbitant costs for hooking up to the grid prohibit more than three quarters of Haitians from having access to grid-supplied electricity—leaving dangerously overused and cost-prohibitive generators as the predominant source of power.
Since 2000, the non-profit organization Partners In Development has been operating a free health care clinic, a sponsorship program for children, a small construction program to aid the rebuilding efforts and a program supporting small business start-ups with skills training and micro-financing options. An estimated 60,000 Haitians have used one or several of PID’s services since the quake in 2010 alone, yet the institution relies primarily on donations and volunteers.
Advanced Solar Industries, based out of New Holland, PA and a successful PV-integrator of quality turnkey solar energy systems for residential, commercial, and agricultural applications, recently installed 21 top-performance MAGE POWERTEC PLUS modules on the roof of the PID campus. Specially designed to withstand hurricane winds and extreme weather conditions, the array will provide consistent quality power. A sophisticated battery back-up system allows the clinic to draw power from the solar panels or the grid, but the system will reject the city power should it fall out of an acceptable voltage and/or frequency range. Any superfluous power created by the solar panels will automatically be used to charge the batteries to ensure 24-48 hours of power autonomy should weather conditions be unfavorable.
As the Head of Administration at Partners in Development, Guetchine Boisrand knows all too well that, "The money spent on fuel and repairs for the generator is one of our biggest expenses. Now we can use the money we save to help kids go to school, buy medicine, give more small business loans, and build more houses."
The small but extremely skillfully designed PV-system will allow also the PID staff to operate the clinic’s treatment and diagnosis services at full-capacity. Being able to safely operate sensitive technical equipment and critical refrigeration for medicines and vaccines will not only improve but save many patients’ lives.
Chris Byers, lead project manager explains, “Operating in a country like Haiti has been both a rewarding and challenging endeavor. In total, the project took close to 18 months to complete, and we had some significant hurdles with shipping and customs, but having the right relationships in Haiti helped to grease the wheels and move the project forward. Even after traveling to Haiti three times to complete the project, I’m struck at how access to power is paramount, for without it you cannot operate an organization in the 21st century effectively, especially in a country like Haiti where there are already so many challenges.”
“We could not be more honored or proud to be part of this impressive project and installation,” smiles Joe Thomas, CEO and President of MAGE SOLAR USA. “This install truly combines the beauty of solar PV and showcases its amazing potential of saving and improving lives for people all over the world, in the most diverse circumstances. We thank Advanced Solar Industries for their dedication and unwavering hard work in conducting this inspiring project from start to finish.”
Installers and employees at Advanced Solar Industries have raised funds for the project by organizing a charity bicycle ride, Ride Solar, in their home state of Pennsylvania. Now the team is already looking at 10 kW project on a school in Nairobi, Kenya.