SolarWorld, the largest U.S. crystalline-silicon solar manufacturer for more than 40 years, announced recently that the company’s donation of 50 kilowatts of high-performance solar panels has enabled a hospital in Bonne Fin, Haiti, to dramatically reduce reliance on expensive and faulty diesel generators.SolarWorld donated the solar panels for Hospital Lumière – a nonprofit, 120-bed primary care and medical-surgical hospital operated by Apostolic Christian HarvestCall – through the company’s Solar2World program, which provides solar panels for community-oriented, rural-electrification projects in developing economies.
Smucker’s Energy, a SolarWorld Authorized Installer based in Lancaster County, Pa., designed and built the system at cost with a volunteer crew and reduced engineering cost from engineer of record, Michael P. Manlove, based in Hershey, Pa. Solar World distributor Civic Solar provided engineering support and major components at reduced cost. A video released today portrays the project. On the opening day of the fourth annual SolarWorld Installer Summit on Tuesday, June 7, in Portland, Ore., SolarWorld also bestowed a humanitarian award on Smucker’s Energy for its work on the project (see other award winners below). A blog about the project is published on SolarWorld’s website.
“Helping those in need is a family tradition; being a family business, it’s something we’ve done with Smucker’s Energy from the start,” said John Smucker, president and owner of Smucker’s Energy. “I’ve been to Haiti several times, and the need there is great. We feel strongly about contributing and about quality. We wanted to provide this charitable install with the same high-quality solar modules we use in the states, and SolarWorld helped make that happen. It’s very important to use high-quality modules; they hold up longer and produce more over a system’s lifetime.”In addition to serving a local population estimated at 60,000 residents, Hospital Lumière (Creole for “Hospital of Light”) is known for admitting patients who travel across Haiti to benefit from the hospital’s care, regardless of their religious faith or ability to pay.
Located in mountains about 5½ hours by vehicle from the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, the hospital lacks electric utility services. Instead, the hospital formerly depended on hydroelectric and diesel generators for power, which were subject to continual fuel and maintenance costs as well as power disruptions that undermined patient treatment, expensive medical equipment and proper medicine storage. A solar-and-battery installation totaling 84 kilowatts, undertaken in late winter, now is expected to provide nearly all of the hospital’s energy needs.SolarWorld provided solar panels for a hospital in Haiti before the earthquake disaster on Jan. 12, 2010; thereafter, it donated panels for three other hospital projects, not including Lumière.
“Six years after the earthquake, the people of Haiti still need a lot of help,” said Mukesh Dulani, president of SolarWorld Americas Inc., based in Oregon. “Our donated solar panels are now powering at least five hospitals in Haiti, demonstrating the clean power of solar to generate electricity for what should be clean, quiet and safe care facilities. Solar panels require no fuel, moving parts, noise or emissions to do their jobs. For those reasons, they are ideal for powering health-care facilities in energy-restricted locales such as Haiti.”
Other awards and winners were Corporate Sustainability Champion, Reckitt Benckiser Group; Most Valued Partner, PetersenDean Inc.; Woman Solar Leader of the Year, Valerie Serrato, PetersenDean; Excellence in Customer Service, Infinity Solar Inc.; Solar Champion, Secure Futures; American-made Advocate, North State Solar Energy; and 2015 Highest Volume Registrations, Robco Electric Inc.