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.