The lack of lighting is a concern in the camps for earthquake victims in Haiti, as the dark helps criminals. In the months that followed the quake, a wave of crimes like robbery and rape in the camps led some administrators to impose curfews to try to stem the violence.
A green energy project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) helped alleviate the conditions in two camps in Port-au-Prince by installing lampposts with solar panels.
In response to a request by the Haitian authorities, the Bank allocated resources of the project, aimed at promoting the use of solar energy, to improve public lighting in the camps and Club Caradeux Petionville. The larger project has resources from the IDB and GEF or U.S. for a total of $1.5 million.
A Haitian firm, Green Energy Solutions, won the contract to install solar equipment in both camps. Between July and September this year placed 68 light poles in Caradeux, home to some 40,000 people and another 32 units in Petionville Club, home to another 25,000 people.
Reports of violent crime began to fall sharply as were installed light poles and lighting conditions improved, according to data provided by the project’s executing agency, the NGO Solar Electric Light Fund.
The second phase of the project will be carried out in the coming months to provide photovoltaic systems to 12 hospitals and health clinics in southeastern Haiti. As part of the project, train local electricians who can maintain and repair solar equipment.
“As an engineer, I was excited about this project because Haiti has a great potential for harnessing solar energy,” said Pierre Thys Kenolaba, project coordinator of the IDB. “As a Haitian, I am glad that this technology can alleviate the living conditions of people who have suffered.”