SolarWorld Authorized Installer JD Solar Solutions, based in Bolton, Conn., donated its efforts to install two arrays at the Hope for Haiti’s Children orphanage and school at Thomazeau, located in desert scrublands more than an hour inland from the capital city of Port-au-Prince.
In early 2017, SolarWorld Americas provided the solar panels through its Solar2World program to supply community-based, rural-electrification programs in developing economies.
Starting before the January 2010 earthquake disaster in Haiti, the company has supplied solar panels to solarize five hospitals around the country. In partnership with the water-engineering charity Water Mission, the company also has supplied solar panels to power 10 community-based water-filtration systems, enough to meet the needs of 175,000 residents.
At Thomazeau, grid power voltage is highly volatile, which burns out electrical equipment, and the grid supplies electricity only about half the time, according to James Dean, partner in JD Solar Solutions. Expensive, noisy and dirty diesel generators have picked up the slack, Dean says.
Aside from powering such necessities as lighting fixtures and kitchen appliances, the solar power will be used to pump water into cisterns and tanks for use around the clock, Dean says. To secure the arrays, they were anchored and ballasted to endure winds up to 130 mph, he says.
Hope for Haiti’s Children is a 23-year-old Cincinnati-based charity offering housing, education, and leadership training for at-risk Haitian youth. The organization (www.HopeForHaitisChildren.org) has been ranked by Charity Navigator as a “Perfect 100” for its financial health, accountability and transparency.
With the solar power system completed this spring, the organization plans to significantly increase the number of orphans served at the facility over the next several years. The solar system also is expected to cut its monthly diesel bill from $500 to $100, not including considerable savings on maintenance bills.
“We are so thankful for the impact that SolarWorld and its partners have made at our orphanage and school,” says Ken Bever, president of Hope for Haiti’s Children. “Since 2009, our facilities have been powered by a large diesel generator, which has resulted in thousands of dollars spent annually on fuel and maintenance costs. With the cost savings of this solar-powered electrical system in place, we will be able to direct those funds to provide more services for the 400 impoverished children attending our school and the children living at our orphanage.”
“Our plan is to expand our facilities at the orphanage to care for more homeless,” Bever says. “With this sustainable infrastructure in place, we can help more orphaned children by providing housing, clean water, food, education and training. We are grateful that now we can use this renewable source of energy to pump water into our water cisterns and provide light and electricity to our entire facility.”