Haiti hospital solar energy solution

  • Renee Geske  |
  • 2016-07-21
HAS Haiti Blog

It was in 2012 that I took my first trip to Haiti after the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the country in 2010. I spent nine days at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) Haiti, a hospital that serves more than 350,000 people in central Haiti. While at the hospital, I learned that in addition to the challenges they were facing as a result of the earthquake, they were dealing with an even greater challenge – an unreliable energy solution. Each year, HAS spent approximately $400,000 on diesel to run their off-grid generators; a solution that is expensive and unpredictable as there is no back-up to support energy brownouts. In dispensaries in the mountains, they used propane tanks to power refrigeration of key medical supplies. While visiting one of the local dispensaries, I saw two idle solar panels on the roof and had an idea to develop a renewable energy solution for the hospital. 

When I arrived back at Celestica, I brought the idea to our Sustainability team. With the help of a much larger team made up of Engineering, Finance, the Business Unit team, Logistics/Shipping, Legal and Business Development, a plan was in place. 

In 2014, Celestica donated and shipped 800 Class-B solar panels to HAS.  Working together as an international consortium with HAS and Switzerland's Bündner Partnerschaft, a charitable foundation, the team enabled the project's full completion.

Now two years later, I returned to Haiti on behalf of Celestica to celebrate the hospital’s 60th Anniversary and be recognized for our part in the solar project and the hospital’s history. It was an honour to be part of the celebration and share that moment with key partners from HAS and Bündner Partnerschaft.

As a result of this renewable energy solution Celestica’s solar panels are providing the hospital with eight hours of clean energy per day, enabling HAS to save $100,000 of their annual energy costs which will help them to provide an increased level of service reliability and more doctors, nurses and hospital care. It also eliminated 20 per cent, or 200 metric tonnes, of their CO2 emissions each year.

I am so proud to work for a company that supported my idea and leveraged our company’s expertise to make a difference in Haiti. Together we’re creating a sustainable community and enriching the lives of hundreds of thousands individuals. It is something that I will remember for the rest of my life.