St. Thomas University celebrates completion of major solar energy project in Haiti

The projects were completed in December, 2013, and are now providing free, sustainable electricity to an area with no roads, little water, and no public electricity.

MIAMI, Feb. 5, 2014 -- Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 St. Thomas University and its partners celebrated the completion of a major photovoltaic solar energy project in Miami's Sister-Diocese of Port-de-Paix, Haiti. The Archdiocese of Miami has a 30 year sister-diocese relationship with the Diocese of Port-de-Paix, Haiti (the poorest region of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere). In 2006, St. Thomas University began an initiative to leverage its faculty research and student learning resources into Haitian-led, long-term socio-economic development projects in the region (including coffee development, artisan production, and sustainable energy initiatives).


One of these efforts was to collaborate on a long-term solar energy system for the Cathedral and community center complex of Port-de-Paix. For the last three years a team of St. Thomas university faculty, staff and students have worked with Haitian partners on the installation of an 18kw solar energy system for the complex, as well as on hundreds of individual solar energy systems in the rural village of Ma Wouj. The projects were completed in December, 2013, and are now providing free, sustainable electricity to an area with no roads, little water, and no public electricity.

This work has been an "Engaged Scholarship" collaboration between St. Thomas University and Haiti Tec (a technical school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, co-founded by STU President Msgr. Franklyn Casale in 2001). St. Thomas University and Haiti Tec students brought their learning and expertise to the endeavor, while building local Haitian capacity to develop other such projects independently in the future.

"A NIGHT OF LIGHT" celebration was held on campus and featured speakers who have been actively engaged in this effort for years, such as Anthony Vinciguerra, Coordinator of the St. Thomas University Center for Community Engagement; Alberto Varela, PhD, a physics professor in the School of Science, Technology and Engineering Management; Haiti's General Consul Francois Guillaune, STU students and the Rector of the Cathedral of Port-de-Paix, Father Leonvil Canois, among others.

For more information on the university's Center for Community Engagement, housed in St. Thomas' Biscayne College, please contact Anthony Vinciguerra at 305-206-8332; avinciguerra@stu.edu.

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