Princeton, N.J., September 21, 2010 – NRG Energy, Inc. and Solar Electric Light Fund announced a commitment through the Clinton Global Initiative to greatly expand the use of solar power to meet electricity needs for the Haitian Central Plateau commune of Boucan Carre.
NRG‘s $1 million commitment will fund the project, The Sun Lights the Way: Brightening Boucan Carre, to provide clean, safe and inexpensive electric power for fish farming, irrigation pumps, street lights and schools – creating a model that can be replicated in other areas.
The announcement was made at the sixth annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York, a meeting of international leaders aimed at finding lasting innovative solutions to the world’s most complex challenges.
“Deploying zero-emission, renewable solar generation across a range of applications will contribute immeasurably to the quality of life and the sustainability of community living in Boucan Carre,” David Crane, NRG President and Chief Executive Officer, said. “We are honored to partner with SELF in order to help rebuild Haiti in a manner that will make it a role model for others to contribute to the transformative work carried out by the Clinton Global Initiative as they strive to assist Haiti’s efforts.”
SELF will help implement the solar photovoltaic project that will supply electricity for a fish farm, water pumps for drinking and irrigation, schools, street lighting and other community and microenterprise centers – all with clean, safe and renewable solar power. Washington-based SELF is an expert non-governmental organization in rural solar electrification with practitioner experience in 20 countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas – including Haiti, where SELF is building solar-powered health clinics with the Partners In Health aid organization.
“I’m excited to partner with NRG Energy on this initiative. There’s no question that distributed, renewable energy solutions have a key role to play in helping Haiti build back better,” said Robert Freling, Executive Director of SELF. “Working together with NRG, along with Partners In Health, we’re going to demonstrate the practical use of solar energy to enhance the health, education and economic well-being of rural communities in Boucan Carre, which will serve as a model for the rest of Haiti.”
SELF uses local labor to the extent possible on all of its projects, contracting with local companies or laborers for construction services and provides the training to create clean energy jobs for the operation and maintenance of the solar installations.
The fish farm also supports scores of additional jobs while providing a source of nutritious protein for residents, and similarly, the irrigation pumps help farmers provide a larger and more consistent harvest of edible produce.
This CGI commitment is an extension of NRG’s commitment to moving clean energy forward and increases its portfolio of low- and no-carbon generating assets including new nuclear generation, onshore and offshore wind, biomass projects and a commercial-scale carbon capture project for fossil-fueled generation and more than 1,150 MW of solar energy projects under development.
This project also increases already substantial efforts to help Haiti recover from the January 12 earthquake. Earlier this year, NRG raised a total of $428,000 to help Haiti recover from the January 12th earthquake, triple-matching employee contributions and pledging $100,000 to the Concern Worldwide aid organization to build two new primary schools in Haiti.