Karl Wiant, a Regional Operations Manager, gathered a team of Sunpro Solar employees and journeyed to Cabaret, Haiti, a small community outside of the country’s capital city, Port-au-Prince, where they repaired and installed a solar system for Grace Children’s Home.
Grace Children’s Home is an orphanage that’s home to roughly 20 Haitian children. A rooftop solar installation keeps the orphanage’s energy costs low, so that they can direct more resources to the children in their care. Extreme tropical weather is common in Haiti, but in late 2020, a particularly destructive thunderstorm destroyed many of the solar panels that power the orphanage.
“The original solar array was installed a few years ago, but at the end of last year they had a lightning strike destroy their whole system,” said Wiant. “We tried to troubleshoot it over the phone and had local people try to fix it. When that couldn’t be done, I reached out to Marc about Sunpro stepping in to help. Marc gave me the green light to go there and get it back on and working.”
Much like the rest of Haiti, the community surrounding the orphanage faces a routine struggle to maintain a regular energy supply. Efforts to keep the lights on or run a few basic appliances are extensive and, unfortunately, expensive.
“There is no formal grid power there and gas prices are very unstable and sometimes gas to power generators must be bought on the “black market” at $15 a gallon or more due to all the shortages,” said Wiant.
Grace Children’s Home can’t afford to go without power, but the alternatives are equally as unaffordable. The available energy sources are simply unreliable, controlled by the government, costly or simply non-existent.
Reliable energy sources are difficult to come by in Haiti, but sources that also cut down on energy costs are in especially short supply. That’s why solar power is so important to the orphanage. When the lighting destroyed the existing solar array, Karl and his team moved quickly to get a new, stable system of solar panels installed and up-and-running.
“When we got there, we pretty much had to gut everything and build them a brand new system. But, in two days we were able to get it all done and the orphanage up and running 100% on solar again. This is a huge savings to them,” said Wiant.
With its new solar installation, Grace Children’s Home looks forward to a reliable, more energy independent future. On behalf of Karl Wiant and other members of the Sunpro Solar family, we’re happy to help the orphanage to keep the lights on, run freezers and refrigerators and, more importantly, provide food, shelter and resources to the children in their care.