EarthSpark’s Haiti Microgrid “Fared Comparatively Well” in Hurricane Matthew

Published: Oct. 19, 2016

By Elisa Wood for Microgrid Knowledge

View EarthSpark’s photo log of the Hurricane Matthew toll in Les Anglais.

Read EarthSpark’s blog for additional updates.

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EarthSpark Team Seeks Help Restoring Haiti Microgrid

Map: Hurricane Matthew's Impact on Haiti

Hurricane Matthew's Impact on Haiti. Source: USAID

A team from EarthSpark, a non-profit that has developed a microgrid in Haiti, was caught in the hard-hit area of Les Anglais where Hurricane Matthew made landfall earlier this month.

The team is safe, and they are now repairing the Les Anglais microgrid which they said fared comparatively well during the storm. Most buildings in the area were destroyed or severely damaged when the Category 4 hurricane made landfall.

The microgrid’s generation system is still largely intact and only 25 percent of the solar panels were lost, according to a blog posted on EarthSpark’s site.

EarthSpark is restoring the microgrid and working on the distribution system. Spring Power & Gas, an energy retailer providing electricity and gas supply services to Maryland and New Jersey, and others are donating to the cause.

“The recent events of Hurricane Matthew are a tragedy and Spring Power & Gas encourages people to come together to help Haiti, and organizations like EarthSpark that are working hard to provide relief, aid, and long-term solutions to the thousands affected by this devastating event,” said Richard Booth, president of retail operations, Spring Power and Gas.

EarthSpark has been working since 2009 to eradicate energy poverty in Haiti. The organization developed the Les Anglais microgrid in 2012, bringing electricity to the town for the first time. The team expanded the project to 430 connections in 2015, so that it could directly serve 2,000 people with 24-hour electricity mostly from solar and battery storage.

Donations to EarthSpark can be made here.

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Oct. 2, 2017

Microgrids, like the one built by EarthSpark in Haiti, are more storm-resilient; they don't transmit power long distances over storm-vulnerable wire. Rebuilding in Puerto Rico offers a chance build a grid that's less centralized, decreasing the chance for widespread, long-term outages after a storm.