Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
Haiti is ideally suited to clean, renewable solar power. 10Power, founded by Sandra Kwak, is charting a path forward for solar in her country.

Fossil Fuels

10Power Leads Haiti Toward A Sustainable Future Powered By Solar Energy

Haiti is ideally suited to clean, renewable solar power. 10Power, founded by Sandra Kwak, is charting a path forward for solar in her country.

The island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean is a perfect candidate for sociologists to study. On the eastern end is the Dominican Republic, which has a robust economy made possible in part because virtually every household and business is connected to the electrical grid. On the western end is Haiti, which is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. Less than 40% of Haiti’s 11 million residents has access to the electrical grid. Even those who do find it unreliable with frequent outages.

10Power founder Sandra Kwak (right)

Haiti has been the victim of an unending string of natural disasters, including hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. Thanks to the effect of a warming climate, the severity and frequency of major storms are both increasing. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew wiped out agricultural farms in South Haiti, which prior to that year brought 74% of the country’s new jobs. Haiti’s plight prompted president Donald Trump to show off the full extent of his ability to feel compassion for other human beings last year when he included Haiti in his list of “shithole countries” whose citizens should be banned from entering the US.

Against this backdrop of misery and pain, one entrepreneur is seeking to build a system of sustainable solar power for the island. Sandra Kwak is the founder of 10Power, an organization that is promoting a collaborative public/private partnership approach to solar energy. “Our goal is to provide affordable, reliable renewable energy that will save businesses money and create jobs. Distributed renewable energy has the potential to increase resiliency, prosperity, and power sustainable development,” says Kwak.

The government is fully supportive of the effort to bring renewable solar power to the country. Last September, parliament eliminated all import duties and tariffs on solar equipement, Forbes reports. Economy and Finance Minister Jude Alix Patrick Salomon stated in an interview with Haiti newspaper Le Nouvelliste, “we wanted to encourage, as part of this budget, the acquisition of equipment from alternative sources of energy.”

Like most Caribbean nations, Haiti is a prime location for solar power. A study by Worldwatch calculated that Haiti receives about the same amount of sunlight annually as Phoenix, Arizona. Much of Haiti’s electricity comes from diesel generators. With the high cost of imported diesel and the access to financing that 10Power makes possible, solar costs less than electricity from the grid the first day it is installed.

“Haiti has the potential to quickly become a renewable energy powerhouse,” says Kwak. “The steps that are being taken in this direction are encouraging.” She estimates the addressable market for commercial scale solar in Haiti is currently over $500 million. Her organization already has $100 million in solar projects it is promoting. “Our goal is to provide affordable, reliable renewable energy that will save businesses money and create jobs,” says Kwak.

Since being founded in 2016, 10Power has financed and installed solar power for two water purification centers which provide clean drinking water to surrounding schools and communities. It has also supported more than 600 micro-enterprises, most of them led by women. It is currently working with an unnamed international NGO on a large-scale solar energy installation that should be announced later this year.

The Haitian Ministry of Public Works, Transportation, and Communications is working with the World Bank to develop sustainable mini-grids. “It is exciting to see private sector and international development partnerships taking off,” says Nicolas Allien, a senior energy specialist at the ministry. “We are implementing well-targeted financial instruments and policy measures in order to attract private sector investments in both on-grid and off-grid renewable energy solutions.”

Like Africa, Haiti has the ability to leapfrog the fossil fuel industry and the construction of traditional electrical grids on its way to energy independence and economic stability. “Distributed renewable energy has the potential to increase resiliency, promote prosperity, and power sustainable development,” says Kwak. Reliable and renewable solar power could lead to the desperately needed political power that has been absent in Haiti for decades.

 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
 

Advertisement
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.

Comments

You May Also Like

Climate Change

Researchers are designing electric grid infrastructure that fails in a controlled way so it can be repaired more quickly.

Cars

Having followed the development in Zambia since I attended elementary school in the country from 1981 to 1982, there is finally some good news...

Clean Power

A microgrid designed and built by BoxPower is serving PG&E customers in a remote area near Yosemite National Park.

Clean Power

Providing electrical power when and where it is needed will be a challenge as the Earth's climate changes. Are humans up to the task?

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.