Haiti – Innovative technology: 300 Haitian homes interconnected in a solar mesh network
300 families in the rural area of Dulagon (Dept. Artibonite) have been equipped with Okra Solar’s innovative “Mesh-Grid” solar technology designed to meet the challenges of off-grid electrification. The Haiti-based Off-Grid Electricity Fund (OGEF), co-funded by the World Bank, provided US$230,000 to local Haitian project developer “Alina’s Enèji”, to deploy this project, the second in Haiti.
Mesh-Grids have gone from concept to fully commercialized technology in just four years. Today, Okra Solar’s specialized hardware and software are used to solve energy access problems in Haiti, Nigeria, Cambodia and the Philippines. The company’s latest project in Dulagon, is part of a gradual scale-up that could potentially reach 4,700 additional households in the country, representing a positive leap towards achieving Haiti’s national electrification goals.
The installation was done in two months from the arrival of the equipment in Haiti. The mesh network meets customers’ electrical needs with 99% uptime, both the majority of customers consuming an average of 3 kWh/month of direct current and heavy users consuming up to 100 kWh/month of current continued.
To launch the transition to clean energy, “Alina Enèji” provided each household powered by the “Okra Mesh-Grid” with two light bulbs and a fan free of charge. Households can also purchase additional appliances, such as rice cookers and refrigerators as part of their energy package through a rent-to-own program.
Learn more about a DC mesh network:
A direct voltage mesh network is an electrical network using direct current to transport power instead of alternating current as in conventional networks. In other words, it is several high voltage direct current lines connected together. The advantage of such a network compared to alternating current networks is to allow electricity to be transported over longer distances with less loss.
Mesh networks provide up to 1.2 kW of productive energy per household (level 4 energy access). Available in AC or DC via the 12/24volt outlets, mesh networks provide productive power all day, every day.
Households interconnect and share excess electricity. Isolated households are configured as Solar Home System autonomous. Developers can energize homes as stand-alone systems or as interconnected systems that share energy autonomously, increasing energy availability and reliability.
Data, alerts, payments and firmware updates are managed remotely via cellular (2G/3G) or WiFi connection.
Network capacity can be increased to meet growing demand.