01 April 2010

Solar Power Brings Light to Quake-Darkened Haiti

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Following the success of a ten kilowatt photovoltaic system installed last year at its health center in Boucan Carré, nonprofit Partners In Health is expanding its use of solar in Haiti.

In the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated his country on January 12, Haitian businessman Alex Georges recalls both the darkness and the light.

From the Port-au-Prince house where he had been meeting with his business partner, Georges remembers stumbling into chaos: human suffering and a cloud of dust so thick that he could not see across the street.

But he also saw that at night, even though the shaken city had no electricity, there were bright islands of light—beneath the solar-powered street lamps that his company had installed at two sports fields. People were drawn to the glow and began to set up camps there.

Georges believes that solar energy can do more than provide temporary refuge for Haitians; he thinks it can be a permanent boon to the impoverished Caribbean nation.

As the co-founder of ENERSA (Energies Renouvelables S.A.), a three-year-old Port-au-Prince business that has manufactured and sold more than 500 LED solar streetlights with battery storage in 58 towns and villages throughout the island, Georges is one of a group of advocates and entrepreneurs pushing for greater use of solar, renewable, and other small-scale energy in the rebuilding of Haiti.

(National Geographic Daily News)

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