Rebuilding and Expanding Community Micro-Grids

SELF’s work in Haiti both before and after the 2010 earthquake included the electrification of health centers along the southwest coast, as well as a community micro-grid to serve Chardonnieres, Port a Piment, and Coteaux. This hybrid micro-grid (which combines solar with diesel generators) had not been operational for very long before another tragedy devastated the country. Hurricane Matthew struck the south coast of Haiti during 2016 as the first category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic since 2007. It caused over 500 deaths and over 2 billion dollars in losses. The damage included much of the micro-grid distribution system and about 60% of the solar that SELF had installed.

With funding from the Inter-American Development Bank, SELF worked with the Haitian Ministry of Public Works, Transport, and Communications and the local micro-utility (Cooperative Electrique de l’Arrondissement des Coteaux, or CEAC) to rebuild and expand the micro-grid. SELF installed 140 kilowatts of PV at the utilities base yard in Coteaux, and worked with CEAC to procure the materials to rebuild and expand the distribution system and install new smart meters. Despite repeated challenges from the pandemic and ongoing political instability, the grid is now fully operational and has the storage capacity to provide energy to thousands, day and night. 

The micro-grid powers schools, health facilities, and the private sector, boosting the health, wealth, and wellbeing of local communities. As less than 25% of Haiti’s rural population has access to reliable electricity, solar hybrid micro-grids also act as valuable models for quicker, cheaper, and cleaner delivery of energy to rural areas.  

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SELF is a global leader in the fight against energy poverty. Since 1990, we’ve pioneered unique applications for solar energy, powering progress on food security, health care, education, gender equity, and more. 

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