2013 Winner: EarthSpark International (USA)
Smart Grid on Main Street: Electricity and Value-added Processing for Agricultural Goods in Rural Haiti
Entreprises La Foi (Haiti)
Les Anglais, Haiti
Seventy-five percent of Haiti’s population lacks access to electricity, and farmers frequently lose value of their crops for want of infrastructure and processing equipment. Where processing facilities do exist, they are typically diesel-powered and expensive to operate. This imposes a severe limitation on farmers’ ability to process agricultural goods, maximize the value of their products, and improve their livelihoods.
CLEAN ENERGY SOLUTION
EarthSpark has developed a solar-diesel hybrid micro-grid system that will increase access to affordable, reliable electricity for value-added agricultural processing. By providing technical guidance and facilitating access to financing for local partners, EarthSpark will assist agribusinesses in upgrading to efficient electric mills so the processing of rice, sorghum, coffee, and corn can be modernized. The project first focuses on breadfruit crops that typically rot due to lack of processing. Converting the fruit to flour or chips extends the shelf life by months and significantly increases its value and marketability.
By reducing agricultural waste and enabling value-added processing, the project will boost agribusiness incomes as well as provide surrounding residents with access to electricity, through a pre-paid smart metering system. The project will demonstrate a sustainable business model for operating a local micro-grid, for agribusiness’ upgrading to efficient electric mills, and for breadfruit processing.
EarthSpark International is a U.S.-based, nonprofit organization with over four years’ experience working with communities, businesses, and government to bring energy access to Haiti’s unelectrified population. Through its local brand Enéji Pwóp, EarthSpark is an established and recognized brand in Haiti with the track record and infrastructure to scale up its clean energy and micro-grid activities. For this project, EarthSpark has partnered with the Haitian agro-processing company Entreprises La Foi.