our current focus...
"PICO PV FOR HAITI" ...WITH SOLARWAVE
The Haitian people are in great need of access to electricity for basic needs such as lighting and communications. The country’s electrical infrastructure is very limited; there is no electrical service for seven out of the ten million inhabitants.
Pico PV products are small plug & play solar products. Pico PV products range from solar lanterns, with one LED lamp and/or an option of a cell charger, to small “solar home systems” with several lights, a cell charger and other small appliances. These products, which retail for $20 to $200, offer an opportunity for Haitians to gain basic energy access.
Solarwave is a Dominican enterprise owned by Raquel Guzman, a female entrepreneur. Raquel has a degree in accounting and over a decade in the solar business. She started Solarwave in 2013. Raquel has many years of experience with the reliable importation of solar products into the Dominican Republic, and the sale of solar products into Haiti.
Solarwave is located in the province of Puerto Plata just three hours from the border towns of Dajabon, Dominican Republic and Ouanaminthe, Haiti. Staff member, Nelly Martinez, is of Haitian decent and speaks both Spanish and Haitian Creole. Solarwave distributes Pico PV products in partnership with Haitian women entrepreneurs who receive the products and related training from Solarwave. The women in turn sell the product in Haiti to members of their community.
The Energy Access Foundation is supporting Raquel to help her build the delivery capacity of Solarwave to empower and serve Haitian women entrepreneurs across the border. The Pico PV products supplied by Solarwave meet Lighting Global quality standards and are therefore long-lasting. EAF raises funds to provide FAST Rebates (discounts) to make these high quality products more affordable for poor Haitian families.
The goal is to distribute thousands of Pico PV Products in Haiti with Solarwave, to help Haitians make their First Access a Solar Transition (FAST)!
Bella Vista School
When the Dominican government decided to build many new public schools throughout the country, the rural community of Bella Vista was fortunate to be selected. This beautiful new school opened in 2014 to serve 200 students, from kindergarten up through the eighth grade. About 10% of the students served are of Haitian decent.
The community of Bella Vista holds a unique place in the history of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology globally. It was here in April 1984 that Richard Hansen, President of EAF, introduced a small solar PV system combined with a micro-finance payment plan. This innovation helped create a worldwide movement to advance solar home systems (SHS) with micro-finance. Local youths from Bella Vista learned about solar and became employed as solar technicians. Bella Vista is where Dr. Harish Hande, one of EAF's directors visited as a graduate student from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, a field visit that inspired him to launch SELCO India a world renowned solar company that has electrified hundreds of thousands of households in India. So the Bella Vista school project is special to EAF because this is connected with our solar roots!
After decades, the electric utility lines finally reached Bella Vista, however due to frequent power outages throughout the Dominican Republic, and in Bella Vista, school activities lack consistent access to electricity. This project supported the installation a 4kW hybrid solar PV system. The system provides a source of back-up power for priority loads when the utility power is out. It is also a grid-tied system that lowers electrical consumption from the utility grid when the power is on. In addition to providing a valuable clean energy system, the project offers the benefit of sustainable energy education. As the Dominican Republic builds new schools, in today's competitive world there needs to be technical education, including training in information technology and energy technology. The project will be an ongoing demonstration of PV technology to power computers and other needs, while also incorporating educational presentations for the students.
A University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) student team from the Masters in Solar Energy Engineering program was also involved with the Bella Vista school project. This included the opportunity for the UML students to participate in the installation as part of a one-week service learning activity in Bella Vista. This collaboration offered an field education opportunity for the UML students, as well as an international exchange for the local technicians, and the Bella Vista students. This project engages two local Dominican enterprises; Solarwave for logistics, and Energylight for the installation. Using local enterprises ensures the long term sustainability of the system and project.
The 4kW PV system was successfully installed and you can view some photos below.
Mariposa Center for Girls
In 2014 EAF supported the installation of a 10kW hybrid PV system at the Mariposa DR Foundation's "Mariposa Center for Girls" in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. The Mariposa DR Foundation, provides educational and empowerment activities for Dominican and Haitian girls to create sustainable solutions to end generational poverty. Giving them the knowledge and resources to have a bright and occupied future.
The PV system is an essential investment in support of their programs by reducing their monthly electrical energy expenses and providing back-up power. The PV system has 44 solar PV modules and two inverters that are interconnected with the electrical grid. One inverter is a 5kW Solectria inverter that receives electricity from 24 solar modules and injects this electricity into the electrical grid. The other 20 solar modules charge a bank of batteries that is connected to an Outback hybrid inverter that can draw from the batteries to provide back-up power for priority loads during power outages or it can inject electricity into the electrical.
This PV system has completely eliminated the electrical bills of the center. At the end of the year they also receive a check for from the electric company for excess electricity injected into the electrical grid. With a one-time investment in a solar PV system the Mariposa DR Foundation no longer needs to raise money each month to pay for the electrical bill!