Photovoltaic plants are already an integral part of energy production in many industrialized countries. This technology is only slowly establishing itself in the developing regions of the world. There is a great need for independent energy sources in such places, and these regions have access to abundant sunlight and surface space to develop photovoltaic power. However, the investment costs and technical requirements have prevented the development of a comprehensive power supply from renewable energy sources.
Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, has plenty of space and yields of 4 to 6 kWh / kWp. per day. About 80 percent of its population lives on less than $2 per day. This poverty affects children particularly hard: every fifth child dies before the age of five. The situation for the population has been worsened by the devastating earthquake in 2010. The earthquake completely destroyed infrastructure in the many regions that was only rudimentary to be begin with. To this day, much of this has only been partially restored.
Independence from the price of diesel
Supplying the relief camps and villages with electricity is still a challenge even four years the after the disaster. Up until now, most of Haiti's energy comes from power plants fired with heavy oil and diesel generators. Running generators for electricity is highly dependent on the fluctuating oil prices. This dependence results in an irregular supply of electricity. One solution here is offered by renewable energy resources - particularly photovoltaic. The conditions for PV power are perfect: There is more than enough sun in Haiti as a resource for a comprehensive expansion of solar technology to provide everybody a stable source of electricity.
Solar Smart Grid Tabarre
One of the first steps to provide electricity from renewable energy resources has been initiated by BIOHAUS-Stiftung from Willi Ernest with the project "Solar beats Diesel." The goal of this organization as a cooperation partner is to assist ongoing projects for solar energy supply, to encourage international aid organizations to invest their aid money in solar technology and to promote a solar energy policy in Haiti in the near future. With the latest project "Solar Smart Grib Taberre," a 85 kWp PV plant was installed on the roof of the St. Damien Hospital in the town of Tabarre. The plant generates power parallel to the diesel generators and, with this, has reduced the consumption of diesel by 20 to 30 %. The next step of the project is already in the works: All of the facilities of the international agency for children Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (nph) in Taberre will be connected together in a smart solar grid. The diesel generator units will be centrally controlled; additional decentralized PV plants with 450 kWp will be set up and connected to this grid.
Sustainable Master Plan
A huge factor in switching from a diesel-based to a PV-based supply of electricity is of course the financing. The Biohaus-Stiftung is constantly working to get solar companies involved to help with their materials and know-how. In addition to many large companies, the BIOHAUS-Stiftung is also supported by medium-sized companies such as the PV monitoring manufacturer Solare Datensysteme GmbH located in southern Germany. Solare Datensysteme is committed to helping this project. CTO Frank Schlichting said, "We see ourselves as a global company with the responsibility that PV technology is not only available in the richer countries, but also in poor regions where profits are less important. Here it is only about covering basic needs with affordable energy and a way out of poverty and dependence. That is why we attach great importance to helping poorer regions make the transition to alternative energy sources."For the development of PV energy it is important not only to set up solar plants and to replace diesel generators, but also to train the people in the new technology. After the plants have been set up, Haitian technicians should be able to maintain and repair them. To achieve this, training programs at vocational schools for technicians need to be explicitly supported. In 2014, Biohaus-Stiftung and nph are now supported by a solar technician as a development aid worker. This aid worker teaches at vocational schools in Tabarre to train Haitian electricians for the installation and maintenance of solar plants, but also how to use monitoring systems such as the Solar-Log.
About the BIOHAUS-Stiftung
The mission of this organization is to make the world a more just place and to ensure that world's resources remain intact and available for future generations. In particular, the growing threat of climate change poses a serious threat to mankind. The promotion of renewable energy sources is a chance to avert this threat. Sustainable energy production can only become permanently viable in a just world in which discrimination based on gender, age, culture or history has been abolished. That is why Biohaus-Stiftung links its commitment to renewable energy sources with these social issues.The Biohaus-Stiftung has been putting this into practice since 2010 with its own projects for solar energy and training in Haiti and Nicaragua and has also been supporting smaller non-governmental organizations around the world with their energy supply of their projects.