NRG completes first two solar energy projects in Haiti

Former President, Bill Clinton and David Crane, President and CEO of NRG Energy, toured several sites in Haiti’s Central Plateau to view the progress of solar power installations funded by NRG’s $1 million commitment made through the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).

These photovoltaic solar power projects are being done in partnership with the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), a nonprofit organization that designs and implements solar energy solutions in developing countries, and include an additional $500,000 pledge from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

“NRG’s commitment in Haiti’s Central Plateau demonstrates the positive effects solar power installations can have on a community,” said Clinton. “I am proud that my Foundation has partnered with NRG on this project, which works with Haitian schools, farms and businesses to make a real difference in the lives of Boucan Carré residents in an environmentally friendly manner. I was glad to visit NRG’s project sites and see the progress being made, and I look forward to seeing its success continue.”

These projects reflect the William J. Clinton Foundation’s longstanding commitment to building Haiti’s green energy structure. The Foundation has worked with a variety of green technology organizations in Haiti, including NRG, to address Haiti’s high energy costs. Clinton Foundation partners are working on low-cost clean energy alternatives, creating recycling systems to help manage Haiti’s waste, and developing new methods for cooking through effective cook stoves and recycled briquettes to replace charcoal.

NRG’s The Sun Lights the Way: Brightening Boucan Carré CGI commitment encompasses a variety of solar projects, both completed and under development, including: two fish farms, 20 schools, a drip irrigation system for farming and two micro enterprise centers that support small Haitian businesses.

“It’s been a privilege to work with CGI and our partners to identify, plan and execute solar projects that bring light, hope and lasting positive impact to this region of Haiti,” said Crane. “Solar power makes absolutely perfect sense in a country that suffers from low electrification rates, high dependency on fossil fuels and high supply prices. As the largest solar developer in the U.S., NRG is proud to bring our industry leadership and expertise to Haiti.”

The first of NRG’s CGI commitment projects on the tour was a completed system at the Lashto Fish Farm. The fish hatchery, operated by Caribbean Harvest, uses 63 PV panels (14,490 watts total) and a battery system to provide 24/7 power under normal weather conditions. This clean, renewable electricity runs the fish tank air filtration system, enabling increased production of tilapia and additional fish farming jobs that contribute to economic prosperity and food security for the region.

The Bon Berger du Domond School was toured as an example of solar installations currently being developed at a score of Haitian schools. The school, which was constructed through a donation from the Digicel Foundation, uses 12 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels (2,760 watts total) and a backup battery system to power lights, computers and an electric piano, enabling the school to teach adult literacy classes and serve as a community center at night.

Additional solar installations at facilities operated by Partners in Health— Mirebalais Hospital and Boucan Carré Health Center, a rural health clinic—were included on the tour.

“We’re honored to partner with NRG, CGI, and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to make these projects a reality,” said Bob Freling, Executive Director of SELF. “Solar energy can have a tremendous impact on the revitalization of many communities in Haiti. The facilities toured today demonstrate how solar significantly improves people’s lives.” NRG and its employees have been dedicated to helping Haiti recover from the devastating January 2010 earthquake from early on–donating $428,000 for immediate relief aid and another $100,000 to fund the construction of a school soon after the earthquake.

NRG’s commitment to CGI furthers the Company’s desire to see the Haitian people not only recover from the earthquake, but build a thriving, sustainable economy and improve conditions for women and children. Other companies that contributed significant equipment and resources to make these projects successful include Droompac, Found Object, JA Solar, OutBack Power, Surrette Battery Company and Trina Solar.