Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, where electricity is available only to a handful of people, while the rest rely on kerosene lamps, burning of trees and expensive oil imports, is experiencing a complete transformation after solar energy was introduced to the community.
Only a few months after it first opened its doors, the largest solar powered hospital in the world, equipped with 1,800 solar panels, is not only saving lives, but also showing that not all is lost for the small, yet very beautiful, country.
The future for Haiti looks bright, and it is not only hope that defines it. Although the devastation caused by the earthquake back in 2010, and the limited forest cover, which is now only 2%, due to illegal but to some the only mean for any light or heat generation, there is nothing that can take the sunshine away from the citizens. What is more, the city of Mirebalais, located in a close proximity to the capital city, demonstrates that the sun can really do miracles, and provide power to life, literally.
Just seven months ago, Partners in Health, an organization with a sole aim to bring modern health care to the developing world, together with Haiti’s health ministry, officially opened the first for Haiti and largest in the world solar powered hospital. Since then, the generous sunshine, and the solar panels mounted on the rooftops were able to provide enough electricity to make treatment for over 60,000 patients possible, and to facilitate nearly 1000 births.
But the hospital is not only a life-saving facility for the Haitians. It is also a representation of the future and the numerous possibilities that solar power could bring to the community. Alternative energy facilities and plants are very much needed, simply because current electricity generation is firstly beyond what 80% of the citizens could afford, and secondly very unsustainable. However, producing any solar powered gadgets is expected to be extremely successful. Not only because the hospital sets the right example, but also because Solar powered WakaWaka Lamps are now providing free light to more than 1,000 homes, thanks to the recent large scale campaign by Off-Grid Solutions and Clinton Global Initiative.
The increased popularity of the devices made specialists believe that manufacturing of solar lamps in Haiti is not as far-fetched as it might seem. The Haitian government is also on board, already planning the construction of a large-scale solar lamp factory. If this project realizes, then there are not only going to be thousands of job openings, but the gadgets will be much more accessible and affordable to the community. In addition to this, investors are already looking into expanding the test prepay micro grid with solar powered systems.
All in all, the future indeed looks brighter for the Haitians.
Image (c) The Guardian