4 Ways Solar Power Will Transform Haitian Homes

In the past few months, we’ve seen inflation in Haiti rise as high as 30%. For reference, the United States is facing a 9.1% rate as of August, and we’ve all experienced the strain that puts on our finances. Imagine tripling it. Haitian families are forced to do more with even less. Stretched thin, we see our Haitian neighbors forgoing even the most basic needs, like medical care and meals.

It won’t surprise you then to hear that energy costs in Haiti are prohibitive. Even before the current economic crisis, our research shows that – at best – 25% of Heartline’s Haiti employees and their families have access to electricity in their homes. Even if a family has access to the electrical grid, it’s only working around 50% of the time, and if a family owns a generator, fuel prices are prohibitive with costs having risen to $15/gallon or more! 

That’s why we’ve been working to find a better path forward. We’ve identified a way to bring light and power to the homes of our Heartline families at a reasonable cost. Not only does this system provide light long into the evening, but it also offers the homeowner phone charging, a radio, and a sustainable source of power.

That system is called the BioLite Home 620 – a solar-powered plug-and-play unit that’s easily installed, portable, and built to withstand the rigors of indoor/outdoor use in a tropical environment. Click here to watch an overview of how it works.

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Here are four reasons we believe bringing solar to these families will be life-changing:

1. Light up the night. In Haiti, nightfall means the end of the day, especially in rural areas. Access to light after dark is monumental, giving families a chance to share an evening meal, read, do homework, or just enjoy more time together.

2. Money for other expenses. Many Haitians rely on alternate sources of energy in the evening, most of which are expensive, dirty, and inconsistent – like burning charcoal or fossil fuels. Given that 30% inflation rate, many families have sacrificed that evening light or are forgoing other needs in order to afford it. With the BioLite system, we can take that cost out of these families’ budgets, giving them an opportunity to use those savings to pay for food, tuition, and other urgent expenses. Thanks to the beautiful Caribbean sunshine, there is zero ongoing cost to the solar-powered BioLite system.

3. Health and air quality. Besides being expensive, the sources of evening light these families currently have access to are impacting their health and the health of the environment around them. Dirty energy sources, as their name indicates, are naturally dirty.  Solar power is a clean, renewable energy source that will allow Heartline families to breathe cleaner air and contribute to a cleaner Haiti.

4. Investing in families. At the end of the day, Heartline’s  mission is to invest in families. This is such a clear opportunity to do just that. When our Heartline families receive these systems, it sends a message.  It says we want them to have a better quality of life; that their life outside their work at Heartline matters, and we want to see them thrive.

Our goal over the next 45 days, from today until the end of October, is to bring light and power to 160 homes in Haiti.

A gift of any size will help us get there! You can be the reason a child in Haiti can study into the evening, the reason a mom can cook a late meal for her teenager, the reason an infant can breathe cleaner air.

If you’d like to learn more about the system in action, check out this video, highlighting families in Kenya who have received power through BioLite.

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