In 2013, we have been busy expanding the Enèji Pwòp retailer network, building better business tools, and expanding our first microgrid!
The network now has 102
retailers across the country, and we partnered with amazing marketing specialists 17 Triggers
to develop comprehensive training and marketing materials that our team will be using in the coming months to train new entrepreneurs and better support our current network.
Sales to date have grossed over $125,392
since 2010, growing exponentially from $6,943
in 2010 to $65,442
for the first eight months in 2013. Enèji Pwòp retailers have sold over 7,158
products, benefiting nearly 35,000
Haitian people. 3,141
products have been sold in 2013 as of September 1st, illustrating Enèji Pwòp’s dramatic sustained growth. Enèji Pwòp solar lighting products directly replace kerosene, candles and charcoal, resulting in household savings of over $5 per month
Alongside our retail work, we have expanded our first microgrid from 14 to 52 customers, and we will be able to report some additional exciting news on that front soon. (hint: solar energy!)
Thank you for making all of this work possible. We couldn't do it without your support.
EarthSpark will soon be able to announce some exciting expansion news (hint: solar energy!)
In preparation, EarthSpark has issued a request for proposals for a microgrid power system. We welcome thoughts, questions, and, of course, proposals from qualified entities interested in working with us on the next phase of microgrid expansion.
The full RFP, including two amendments, is available for download here
. The deadline for proposal submission is Tuesday, December 3rd at 5pm EST.
Enèji Pwòp has a new ad! Click to hear the (long version 1:53) of the new Creole ad promoting solar products and efficient cookstoves. The EP team has been hard at work creating and field testing a whole suite of new marketing, training, and energy literacy materials to be released soon!
EarthSpark workdays often run well past sunset here in Les Anglais, and, lacking electricity in the homes and businesses that will soon be connected to the microgrid, we often use solar lamps to illuminate the final touches of a day’s installations.
EarthSpark’s clean energy retail has been active in this town for over three years, and many families and businesses now light their homes with small-scale solar lights purchased from one of the local Enèji Pwòp (Clean Energy) retailers.
In one home, however, a candle still illuminated the corner of a room where the microgrid home wiring was to take place. Entering the home, everyone paused to note the beautiful shadows the candlelight was throwing through lace curtains up into the rafters. Beyond the expense and the fire hazard and the eyestrain and the soot, there is something beautiful about candlelight. I asked if I could take a picture of the candle. Given the backdrop of the new electricity system being installed, it seemed a beautiful and poignant shot. There was even a moment of nostalgia – the dimly dancing shadows would largely disappear with the arrival of the grid when brighter, less expensive, safer light would be the new norm. The homeowner was happy to have a photo taken and stepped closer to his table, bumping it slightly.
The bump set the candleholder rocking. Hot wax flew, and the five people crowded in the little wooden house watched as flame leaped menacingly toward lace. After what seemed like a slow motion fall, the thud of the candle hitting the floor extinguished the flame, and, in the darkness, the group sighed with relief at a house fire avoided. We turned on the solar lights to get to work on the home wiring for the soon-to-be launched smart grid.
by Arthur Jaquiau-Chamski
In collaboration with the Ministry of Energy Security and Haitian manufacturer Magi-tech, EarthSpark recently installed 7 low-cost, low-consumption streetlights to be powered by our pioneer Les Anglais micro-grid. In the next few months, these lights will help us ascertain how our micro-grids can be an effective support for high quality, cost-efficient street lighting solutions. This real-life test is part of efforts currently being carried out in Haiti to develop best practices in providing lighting and power solutions for small towns.
One thing is already sure: a few days after the installation, Les Anglais inhabitants are happy with these new lights, installed on one of the most travelled streets in town! Street lights at night definitely help life go on after nightfall, allowing everyday activities such as studying, walking in the street, pumping water… Overall a good incentive for EarthSpark and partners to push forward in their work to expand energy services in Les Anglais and other towns in Haiti through pre-pay micro-grids!
by Rachel McManus
Its official- you can now find Enèji Pwòp products from Tiburon to Cap Haitian! EarthSpark recently formed a partnership with the Organisation des Jeunes Visionnaires Haïtiens, a youth group with representation in each of the 19 communes of the North Department who are now Enèji Pwòp retailers. The members of the group were all chosen by the government of Haiti to undergo a year-long training in leadership and entrepreneurial skills. They work in their communities, providing training and support to other grassroots organizations as well as putting on cultural and sporting activities, but were also looking for business opportunities.
This year, the national Carnival was held in Cap Haitian and the group decided to use the occasion to launch their clean energy businesses. The weekend kicked off with a training by EarthSpark including energy literacy and basic business skills along with Enèji Pwòp customer service and brand awareness. The group was so excited to start their new businesses that they showed up at the training wearing Carnival hats with Enèji Pwòp painted on them!
EarthSpark is really excited to work with such an excellent group of young adults and looking forward to watching their businesses grow!
by Allison Archambault
Congratulations to EarthSpark founder and Executive Director Dan Schnitzer for being names to Forbes’ 30 Under 30: Energy!Read more
on the Forbes site.
by Allison Archambault
Earlier this month much of the EarthSpark team was in Les Anglais, the small town where EarthSpark’s clean energy (Enèji Pwòp) retail launched back in 2010 and now home to EarthSpark’s first microgrid
. Two weeks after the grid’s soft launch, we joined customers, workers, town leaders and friends to formally inaugurate the grid and pause to celebrate progress.Photos are up from the microgrid installation here
The microgrid powered the DJ’s kompa music while Enèji Pwòp retailers raffled off efficient cook stoves and small-scale solar products. The following day, Enèji Pwòp retailers, newly supported by Kiva loans, sold out of some of their new stock to customers that had attended the fête.
The existence of this microgrid for these first few customers, the back-end business systems and the new Kiva loans that support these local energy entrepreneurs have been long-cultivated and very much supported by donor contributions.
In the coming year we plan to expand this grid from 14 to 400 customers and add significant solar energy generation. In parallel, we will expand the Enèji Pwòp retailer network from 75 to hundreds of small business owners to expand access to solar energy and efficient cookstoves throughout rural Haiti.
by Allison Archambault
EarthSpark is very pleased to announce its partnership with Kiva MicroFunds. Kiva.org is a non-profit organization that allows people to connect with and invest in entrepreneurs around the world through micro-loans.
EarthSpark will be Kiva’s first Haitian field partner, and starting in December, Kiva will include EarthSpark’s own cleantech entrepreneurs in its portfolio of investees.
Stay tuned for more information so that you too can invest directly in EarthSpark’s entrepreneurs!
by Allison Archambault
EarthSpark is launching Haiti’s first pre-pay microgrid in the small town of Les Anglais. Preliminary installation began in September, and we are presently continuing the installation so that the first customers will be able to turn on grid electricity in their homes by the end of November.
A Haitian technician installs an insulator on a utility pole next to the Digicel antenna.
The initial customer base is small—just 14 households—but the grid will demonstrate three things:
is an effective way of managing billing for electricity services. (Prepayment is not a novel electricity billing approach, but it is new to Haiti. Most Haitians are already prepaying for their phone service.)
2. Deep efficiency
can extend the value of electricity generation without increasing customers’ energy expenditures in the microgrid context. LED lightbulbs and other efficient end-user products require little electricity to deliver high-quality energy services. EarthSpark’s involvement throughout the value chain aligns incentives for these efficiencies to be optimally adopted. Finally,
3. The grid’s collaborative business model
highlights how, by working with local businesses, a grid operator can lower operating costs for businesses while also opening up access to affordable, reliable electricity for households. A special thanks to National Geographic both for their financial support and for featuring this microgrid in this month’s print edition of National Geographic magazine! (page 9) Follow the installation progress on facebook
.Near-term micro-grid expansion: bigger, smarter, greener
While the initial grid in Les Anglais will serve as a viable grid and important demonstration, it is designed for expansion to cover all 400 homes and businesses in the Les Anglais downtown area. Phase Two of the Les Anglais microgrid will serve 400 customers, will integrate 150 kW of solar PV as a generation source along with battery storage, and will manage billing and SCADA with a small-scale smart meter system designed specifically for the BOP microgrid market. EarthSpark is actively fundraising for this expansion now.