Last spring, Konbit Sante partnered with the nonprofit organization Justice and Mercy Energy Services (JustEnergy, formerly known as JAMES) to install solar panels at the Unite de Lutte pour la Sante (ULS) clinic in Bande du Nord. We were impressed with their work, so we requested that they install panels at Justinien University Hospital in Cap-Haitien to provide solar power to our office on the JUH campus.
Power supplied by Électricité d’Haïti, the government-owned entity, is intermittent, which often results in depletion of the office’s battery bank. This caused challenges for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the office losing power during important virtual meetings and training sessions that required an Internet connection. A backup source of power was obviously needed.
JustEnergy installed six solar panels on top of a 30-foot-tall water tower that was installed on the JUH campus years ago by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Each panel is rated for 330 watts, so the array has a total of 1,980 watts (2 kilowatts). They are wired to charge the battery bank in the Konbit Sante office area. In the evenings, power can be drawn from the batteries.
“[The water tower’s] flat top is perfect for locating solar panels, but the installation was challenging,” said Brian Thomas, executive director of JustEnergy. “The racking was redesigned to be lighter without sacrificing security and it was welded together on the ground … Heavy-duty straps were used to hoist the frames up the side of the water tower and on to the roof, where the solar panels were integrated and secured.”
JustEnergy uses local labor on its projects, so the installation of the solar panels was conducted by a team of Haitian workers. Parts were purchased from Haitian vendors. Said Thomas: “I volunteered some engineering time for my part from the States, but most of the work was done by our talented team!”
For more information about JustEnergy, visit justiceandmercy.energy.