by Ian Muir
Thanks to the upcoming expansion and solarization of EarthSpark’s Les Anglais microgrid, affordable and reliable electricity will soon be available to nearly five hundred of the town’s homes and small businesses. The service will be life-changing for many residents. Smoky kerosene lamps will become obsolete overnight, replaced by efficient light bulbs that cost far less to run, provide much brighter light, and pose neither health nor fire risks. In addition, customers will no longer find themselves spending up to fourteen percent of their monthly incomes just to light their homes and charge their mobile phones.
Many residents have already expressed their interest in the new electricity service by “pre-subscribing” and making a deposit proportional to the level of service they desire. But while these deposits are sizable with respect to local monthly incomes, they cover just a small fraction of the cost of an electrical connection and associated materials. To overcome this, EarthSpark is teaming up with Kiva to crowdsource $300 loans that cover upfront installation costs for each of the microgrid’s customers. These loans will then be repaid over time via the proceeds from electricity sales, collateralized by a portion of the payments from the entire community. And, as a result, even those with limited means will have access to the tremendous benefits of the new solar-powered microgrid.
In the coming days and weeks, Kiva loan pages will go live for each of the Les Anglais microgrid’s future customers. These pages will tell their stories and give insights into how residents expect their family or small business will benefit from access to electricity. We encourage you to spread word of this campaign to friends, family, and colleagues, recognizing that loans as little as $25 can help bring modern energy to an entire Haitian household.