Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Solar Power In Haiti

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 15, 2010

One silver lining of the earthquake is that it may be what gets Haitians to move away from burning increasingly-expensive wood and coal for power and cooking fuel:

Solar setups are quick to install, mobile, and relatively inexpensive compared to the price of rebuilding a damaged electricity grid. They can also be incredibly robust. Alan Doyle, a science editor at MSNBC, recently wrote that a single solar water purification system, recovered from the rubble by the Red Cross, is now purifying 30,000 gallons (over 110,000 liters) of water a day.

Sol Inc, a US-based solar street lighting company, has sent a first shipment of lights for roadways, food distribution, and triage sites. This may sound mundane, until you imagine trying to perform street-side surgery or find family members in the dark. The LED lights can also withstand hurricane force winds – no small thing in a country that has also recently been hit by tropical cyclones. Sol Inc has promised to match donations for people wanting to contribute to the program.

Communications are another crucial need being met by solar. China’s ZTE corporation has donated 1,500 solar cellphones and 300 digital trunking base stations. The same technology was used in China when an earthquake hit the Sichuan Province in May of 2008. A similar project is being set up by a group from Holland.

My favorite among all these groups is the Sun Ovens company, if for no other reason than it provides a cheap and low-tech way for poor Haitians to cook their food. Sun Ovens are llittle more than cleverly-folded shiny pieces of metal.

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