Solar Liberty Foundation Donates Solar Power System to School in Haiti

27 Dec 2012

Solar Liberty Foundation recently donated and installed a 4 kilowatt Solar Power System to the Grace School and Orphanage, in Île-à-Vache, a small island off the coast of Haiti. The solar system is an off-grid battery back up system that will power the school for 400 students throughout the year and the nearby orphanage.

"After more than a year of planning, lights will be shining bright this holiday season at the Grace School and Orphanage" said Paige Mecca, Executive Director of Solar Liberty Foundation. "Grace School is in such a remote area that getting the solar equipment to the school was a difficult ordeal" she said.  "The solar panels, batteries, and all the equipment had to be transported in a small boat to the island. Once the solar equipment arrived on shore, it was then carried by donkeys up rocky terrain for about a mile inland." Mecca also adds, "As soon as everything arrived, our installation crew installed the system while training local Haitian electricians on how to install and maintain a solar system."

Prior to this system, the school, orphanage and village did not have any power, making life extremely difficult, and sometimes life-threatening for school children, teachers, and children of the orphanage.

The school now has sustainable power that will provide power for lighting, computers, refrigeration and internet connectivity. Grace School teachers will have access to online lesson plans, teaching webinars and classroom support. The solar power supports a water filtration system that provides  bacteria free drinking water. The school is used for community space where students  will be able to read, study at night and play music. Villagers are able to charge their cell phones, which is their only means of communication with friends and family members on the mainland of Haiti and in the United States.

Steve Biegner, of Clarence, introduced Solar Liberty Foundation to Grace School and spearheaded the fundraising initiative for the solar system. Craig Rung, also of Clarence, donated the shipping costs. Rung worked tirelessly to get the containers through Haiti customs and ultimately received assistance from Senator Charles E. Schumer’s office. "When we ‘flipped the switch,’ Biegner said, “a round of applause could be heard throughout the village and children flocked to the school to complete their homework."

Solar Liberty Foundation, based in Buffalo, NY, is a non-profit organization focused on helping improve the quality of life for people in less developed nations through renewable energy resources. The organization provides people in need with solar electrification, solar water filtration, and solar cookers.

Grace School and Orphanage Mission:  To provide free education for the children of the village of Grann Plaine, Île-à-Vache, Haiti, where prior to Grace School, only education through the fourth grade was offered at a cost too expensive for most families. In 2007, Grace School was born under the shade of a large mango tree. Children are fed a hot lunch each day at the school which, for many of the children, is their only meal of the day.
    
Solar Liberty Foundation
http://www.solarliberty.org