NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG) today announced the successful completion of its “The Sun Lights the Way” project in the Boucan Carré region of Haiti. The program entailed the installation of solar electric systems at 20 schools, a fish farm and a drip irrigation system supporting agricultural production throughout Haiti’s Central Plateau region, through collaboration with the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), a nonprofit organization.
These installations complete NRG’s “The Sun Lights the Way: Brightening Boucan Carré” project, funded by the company’s $1 million commitment made through the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and an additional $500,000 pledge from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. This project helps to improve the quality of education for more than 6,000 Haitian students by providing the electricity needed to power lights, communication systems, laptop computers and other school equipment in a remote area of the country. The solar irrigation system, or “Solar Market Garden™,” will help to increase the production of crops at the Lashto Zanmi Agrikol farm by powering water pumps, while the solar array at the Lashto Fish Farm enables a dramatic increase in fish production by powering aerators for six tanks.
”This program already is improving the lives of thousands of people who have gained access to the regular supply of electricity for the first time in their lives,” said David Crane, NRG President and CEO. “Our CGI commitment to install solar power at schools and food production facilities in Haiti dovetails with our overall company commitment to respect the environment, help end hunger, and improve access to better educational opportunities. Much work remains to be done in Haiti and we intend to continue to do our part to help.”
“In 2006, 35 percent of women in Haiti had no education whatsoever, and as of 2010, 30 percent of girls ages 15-24 were illiterate,” said Bob Freling, SELF’s Executive Director. “Our goal is to provide the tools necessary to ensure that every child in Haiti has the opportunity to achieve their potential in school; electricity is critical in doing this. Solar energy allows schools that are in very remote locations – in one instance we had to transport solar panels by donkey – to power things like computers that can open up a whole new world of learning opportunities for students.”