The humanitarian emergency in Haiti has resulted in a complete loss of the country’s power infrastructure. To bring it back, a host of companies and aid agencies are using the most plentiful resource on the planet to begin powering one of the biggest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen: Solar power.
Think about it for a second. Right now, many of our lives are completely powered by electricity. Most of the basic services we take for granted use a significant amount of electricity to work. No power means no water, no purification, no phones, and no cooking. And for a recently devastated country like Haiti and its inhabitants, electricity can literally mean the difference between life or death.
Everything from solar powered lights to solar powered ovens are being deployed to the country. Sun Ovens International is attempting to get hundreds of its ovens to Port-au-Prince, while solar panel manufacturer Sol is sending solar street lamps that will be used in hospitals to treat the injured at night. In Croix-des-Bouquets, a solar installation from Worldwater and Solar Technologies is now providing power to a school working as an aid center.
Solarworld is donating solar panels to power 10 water purification systems – enough to clean water for 175,000 people and significantly cut down on the spread of water-borne illnesses so prevalent after a major disaster. A Red Cross aid station is using a solar-powered mobile water purification system to clean an additional 30,000 gallons of water. Even solar-powered mobiles by Digicel are being sent to the region, so that a measure of communications can be restored.
Why solar? Diesel is expensive and in short supply. Sunshine however, is plentiful in Haiti. Score one for solar!
By the way, if you are considering donating to the relief effort there are plenty of charities and non-profits that could use your help – we’re particularly supportive of the Red Cross and Architecture for Humanity. What matters though, is to give if you can.
Lead photo by The Haitian Project