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Solar & Alternative Energy

Pledge to address Haiti power shortages with solar

Daily Beast
21 September 2010

At the Clinton Global Initiative, NRG Energy has pledged $1 million to Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), a 20-year-old nonprofit committed to bringing solar energy to the developing world, to try to prove that the sun can cure Haiti's continuing power woes. The money is designed to turn the entire Boucan Carré area into a model for Haiti's future. The first step: improving the health-care system across rural Haiti. PIH operates nine other clinics and SELF plans to equip all of them with solar equipment by late January. Some will be kitted out with as much as 25 kilowatts' worth of solar capability, enough to power satellite dishes, biochemistry labs, and X-ray machines.

"These are not what I would have thought of as rural clinics, with a couple of lights and a vaccine refrigerator," says SELF's executive director, Robert Freling. "These are like small hospitals." From there, Freling, who joined SELF in 1994 and has started projects in 20 countries from the Solomon Islands to Brazil, plans to show that solar can move past lighting up clinics.

Full story from the Daily Beast
SPIE Newsroom interview with Robert Freling