In November 2012 a team of volunteers from Shelby Electric Cooperative (IL) traveled to Haiti to complete work on the Mirebalais Hospital project. The Mirebalais National Teaching Hospital was constructed by Partners in Health (PIH) following the devastating earthquake that struck the capital, Port-au-Prince, in January 2010. The hospital now has 320 beds and will serve 185,000 residents of Mirebalais and nearby communities northeast of Port-au-Prince.
NRECA International was originally approached to provide assistance to PIH to connect the hospital to the grid run by Haiti’s national electric utility, Electricité d’Haiti (EdH). The interconnection project was completed in September 2011, but power quality issues arose immediately that forced PIH to use back-up generators almost exclusively. NRECA and PIH reached an agreement with EdH to upgrade the line providing service to the hospital. In addition, the design was modified to facilitate a new 400 kW solar photovoltaic system to provide supplemental electric service to the hospital.
The NRECA management team, together with volunteers from Shelby Electric modified the interconnection and installed a new transformer, a bank of voltage regulators, and a capacitor bank to address the power quality problems that occurred previously. The NRECA engineering team worked collaboratively with the PIH engineering contractor to adjust the settings on the solar PV inverter bank to ensure maximum benefit from the solar PV array.
The vast majority of Haitians remain beyond the reach of electricity, but the use of solar power in Haiti is expanding and presents a viable option for providing affordable electricity to people around this energy-strapped nation.