Donation Provides Solar Panels to Electrify Rural Partners In Health Clinics
Washington, DC - July 14 - The Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) today announced that SolarWorld has awarded SELF an in-kind grant of solar panels totaling 100 kilowatts to support the solar electrification of five health clinics for Partners In Health (PIH) in Haiti. The clinics, operated by Zanmi Lasante (ZL), are located in the remote mountain highlands of Haiti and do not have access to the electric grid. In the aftermath of the January earthquake in Port-au-Prince, the facilities have experienced a rise in demand for health-care services, countered by dangerous fluctuations in fuel supplies needed to operate their generators.
SELF completed the first 10 kW solar-diesel hybrid system for ZL at a clinic in Boucan Carré, Haiti, in September 2009. PIH reports monthly fuel costs have since declined by 64 percent. In response to the recent disaster, PIH asked SELF to accelerate its timeline to provide solar energy systems to nine remaining PIH/ZL-run clinics in Haiti. Robert Freling, SELF's executive director, said: "We were very pleased to have been chosen by SolarWorld as a grant recipient. This very generous support will go a long way to saving lives by providing the clinics with a stable, 24-hour power supply, and at the same time it will help PIH reduce their operating expenses."
"A doctor can't work without electricity and energy. You need diagnostic capacity, you need light to examine a patient, you really do need electricity to do the kind of work we're doing," said Dr. Paul Farmer, co-founder of PIH. "Given that you can't do modern medicine without power, and that modern medicine is able to save lives, and that we need a safe and environmentally friendly alternative, that brings us to solar power. The whole notion of Partners In Health is based on partnership, and we've found an ideal partner in SELF." The solar electrification projects will play a key role in PIH's three-year recovery and rebuilding plan, which includes expanding capacity for specialty clinical services needed to care for earthquake survivors, as well as building and renovating public health infrastructure.
SolarWorld's Solar2World program makes contributions to regional development in impoverished communities throughout Africa. Since 2008, Solar2World's solar energy grants have supported a water pumping project in South Africa, a computer training center in Uganda, a hospital in Eastern Congo, a vocational training center in Rwanda, an HIV/AIDS orphanage in Malawi, and more.
"With SolarWorld's ongoing commitment to assisting developing communities in need, it was only natural for us to respond to the devastation in Haiti," said Kevin Kilkelly, president of U.S. sales for SolarWorld, the largest U.S. manufacturer of solar panels. "We're happy to have such great partners on the ground to implement our contribution, and we hope this sets a positive example. This is the time for our industry to step up and help Haiti build back better."
Richard LaRue, SELF's development director, said: "SolarWorld's gift is a huge reason why we are able to fulfill our Rebuilding Haiti plans. In addition to securing reliable care, think of what 100 kW of solar power will mean for PIH's energy budget for years to come—just 10 kW installed at one clinic last summer dropped PIH's fuel consumption by seven barrels a month! The solar industry's generosity in helping make SELF's work in Haiti possible has been terrific, and SolarWorld led the way."
About the SolarWorld group
The SolarWorld group (ISIN: DE0005108401) is a worldwide leader in offering brand-name, high-quality, crystalline solar-power technology. Its strength is its fully integrated solar production. From silicon as the raw material through wafers, cells and modules all the way to turn-key solar systems, including recycling, the group combines all stages of the solar value chain. The central business activity is selling quality modules into the installation and distribution trades and crystalline wafers to the international solar cell industry. Group headquarters are located in Bonn, Germany. Production sites are to be found in Germany, the United States and South Korea. The group's largest production facilities operate in Freiberg, Germany and Hillsboro in the U.S. state of Oregon. Sustainability is the basis of the group strategy. Under the name Solar2World, the group supports care projects using off-grid solar-power solutions in emerging economies and developing countries, exemplifying sustainable economic development. Worldwide, SolarWorld employs more than 2,700 people. SolarWorld AG has been quoted on the stock exchange since 1999 and today is listed on, among others, the TecDAX, ÖkoDAX, Dow Jones STOXX 600 as well as in the sustainability indices DAXglobal Alternative Energy and NAI.
The Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit working to reduce energy poverty and combat climate change by bringing solar power and wireless Internet access to remote rural villages in the developing world. SELF has pioneered innovative applications of solar power for drip irrigation in Benin, telemedicine in the Amazon rainforest, vaccine refrigeration in Rwanda, online distance learning in South Africa, and microenterprise development in Nigeria. These successful pilot projects culminated in SELF's whole-village approach, or Solar Integrated Development model. Since 1990, SELF has completed projects in 20 countries, making it a leader among non-governmental organizations in realizing practical and cost-effective alternative energy solutions for rural villagers. For more information, please visit www.self.org.