With a $1 million charitable commitment through the Clinton Global Initiative, Princeton-based NRG Energy Inc. has completed two of its 25 projects to bring low-cost solar energy to Haiti.
Meredith Moore, NRG senior vice president of communications and head of NRG Global Giving, said employees and the company raised more than $400,000 for relief efforts to Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake, but CEO David Crane believed solar could do more to build a sustainable economy.
In September 2010, NRG announced it would partner with the Solar Electric Light Fund to deploy renewable solar generation in Boucan Carré, a rural region of Haiti with limited access to the national electric grid. The company’s $1 million commitment was supplemented by an additional $500,000 pledge from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to develop solar systems for schools, a farm, two micro-enterprise centers and two fish farms.
On March 7, former President Bill Clinton joined Crane and other clean-energy business leaders in Haiti to check the progress of installations and gauge their impact on sustainable economic growth. During their tour, Clinton and Crane visited the completed Lashto Fish Farm, where 63 solar photovoltaic panels and a backup battery system power a fish tank air filtration system, increasing tilapia production and creating fish-farming jobs. They also visited the Bon Berger du Domond School, where 12 solar panels and a battery system enable the school to teach adult literacy classes and serve as a community center at night.
“We’re hoping these projects serve as a model for other companies and show that together, you really can make a difference in people’s lives,” Moore said.