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Solar Liberty Foundation Provides PV Power to Haiti Orphanage

The Solar Liberty Foundation recently donated and installed a 4 kW PV system on the roof of the Grace School and Orphanage, improving access to electricity for school children and villagers.

The school is located in the village of Grann Plaine in Île-à-Vache, a small island off the coast of Haiti.

The Solar Liberty Foundation is a non-profit organization  based in Buffalo, New York. A team of volunteers from the Foundation installed the off-grid battery back-up PV power system that now provides a sustainable source of power for students, teachers and villagers, giving them access to lighting, refrigeration, computers, the Internet and safe drinking water.

“I’m thrilled. It’s a life-changing event for the schoolchildren and the villagers,” said Paige L. Mecca, executive director and founder of Solar Liberty Foundation.

Credit: Solar LIberty Foundation

The Solar Liberty Foundation aims to help people in less developed countries improve their standard of living through renewable energy sources – primarily by providing means to harness the power of the sun, to be used in electricity generation, water filtration and solar cookers.

The organization first heard about school from Steve Beigner, head of Still in One Peace Crisis Services, who led the fundraising efforts to help build the school and get the project off the ground.

The school serves 450 students, some of whom were orphaned and moved to the island after the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010. The school also provides free education and hot lunch, which for some students is their only meal for the day.

The Solar Liberty Foundation agreed to donate and install the solar power system about a year and a half ago, with the costs amounting to $25,000 covered by the Foundation and the money raised by Beigner.

However, slow reconstruction in Haiti meant that installation was delayed: the shipment had to be driven by truck for five hours to the nearest community to the island from the Haitian mainland. Then  parts were ferried, one at a time, on a tiny boat to the island of Île-à-Vache, where the parts were carried, by person or donkey, from the shore to the school.

“When we flipped the switch, a round of applause could be heard throughout the village and children flocked to the school to complete their homework,” Beigner said.


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