GEF Approves Emergency Solar Power Project for Haiti

20 January 2009: The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has approved an emergency project to help restore power, which was lost from the Port au Prince earthquake, to key medical facilities and refugee camps. The US$3 million grant, co-financed with matching grants from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank Group, will use solar energy to produce clean electricity for medical centers, vaccine refrigeration and other critical relief efforts.

Hand-cranked lanterns will also be distributed in refugee camps and residential areas that are in the dark a week after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake destroyed most of the electricity grid and local power plants. With the breakdown of the grid, past sources of renewable electricity such as the country's hydropower plant, Peligre, are no longer available to local authorities, leaving relief workers and survivors to rely exclusively on inefficient fuel-based systems such as small individual generators, kerosene lamps, candles, or even non-renewable biomass (i.e. wood fires). [GEF Press Release]