First Solar-powered microgrid
Officials of the Non-profit organization EarthSpark International, of Elektrisite Kominotè Pwop Enèji (Pwop S.A), a Haitian social enterprise developed by Earthspark International and the departmental and municipal authorities, proceeded to the inauguration of First Solar-powered microgrid which will serve 430 households and businesses in the town of Les Anglais (South Department), or more than half of the local population, to date deprived of any collective initiative.
To power the population of Les Anglais, Earthspark International installed with the help of its partners, an automated hybrid system, including about 90 kilowatts of solar panels, 400 kWh of battery capacity, and an emergency generator. Earthspark also installed a grid throughout the city, including a medium-voltage line for the future increase in consumption.
Marc André Chrysostom, Coordinator Energy unit of the Ministry of Public Works declared “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.”
For Rachel McManus, responsible of Earthspark International in the South “This grid developed at the scale of a city with as main source, solar energy, will transform Les Anglais by enabling economic and social development, while serving as a model to be replicated in other communities in Haiti.”
In order to ensure the sustainability of the grid, a pre-payment system was introduced by “Enèji Pwòp”. It enables customers to know the status of their use and recharge their account with prepaid credits from a local energy seller “plop plop”. “With this structure, customers will enjoy the same flexibility as to recharge their phone. It facilitates the recovery of costs for Earthspark. This payment model experienced for 30 months showed a social impact and financial sustainability because people regularly pay for good service received.”
EathSpark developed this model with funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) within the framework of the project “USAID Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development”. The studies and the establishment were conducted with support from the Government of Norway through the UN and Coalition partners “Côte Sud Initiative (CSI).”
This project comes within the framework of a comprehensive program entitled ” Energie Sud” which aims among other things to improve access to energy through good governance and education, retail sales, rental of energy products and renewable energy for the the national network of the South region.
The development of others microgrid initiatives is underway in the region, including with the United Nations support and its partner National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) which promoted the establishment of the Electrical Cooperative of the Arrondissement of Coteaux (Roche à Bateau, Coteaux, Port à Piment) with a solar/diesel hybrid system.