our projects

We chose Haiti for our first projects because it faces severe energy poverty. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and its population belongs, as economist Paul Collier puts it, to the “bottom billion" of the world's population - the one fifth of the developing world with which has either economically stagnated or declined for much of our recent history. Half of Haiti's population live on less than $1 a day and the country has the second largest income disparity in the world.

Haiti's poverty goes hand in hand with a lack of access to productive energy resources and efficient end-use technologies. Less than 25 percent of households in Haiti are connected to electricity grids, meaning that for the remaining 75 percent, lighting is produced chiefly from kerosene lamps, wax candles, and to a much lesser extent, private diesel or gasoline generators. The electricity infrastructure that does exist is plagued by unreliable generation, transmission, and distribution with total system losses thought to be about 50%. EarthSpark International market research has revealed that average rural Haitians spend 6.5% of their annual income on kerosene and candles for home lighting. According to figures available from the US EPA’s Energy Star program, the average American family spends just 0.5% of their annual income on electricity for home lighting. That’s a 13-fold difference and gives a clearer understanding of why Haiti’s energy intensity – the cost of converting energy into GDP - ranks the third highest in the Latin American and Caribbean region.

In response to this grave situation, EarthSpark developed its model to scale and multiply the delivery of clean energy technology in Haiti. At the end of 2009, we helped a community organization, in the rural town of Les Anglais, develop a store to supply clean energy technologies, education, and training. The store officially opened in July of 2010, with series of events centered around environmental issues in Haiti. At the end of 2010, the store will roll out its clean energy micro-lending program, established in partnership with Fonkoze, to ensure the rural poor can afford solar power and electrically powered devices.