Solar for Respire Haiti – Part 1 – by Jeff Shaw
I am excited to announce that the Gulf South Solar team is now officially scheduled to head down to Haiti on 9/21/15 to install solar. This is a trip that has been in the works for many years but the timing couldn’t be more perfect than now. Five years ago this month I was asked to accompany Megan Boudreaux and a medical mission group to Aquin, Haiti, the year of the earthquake. My task was to assess the existing solar power systems in place there, and recommend repairs and improvements.
Megan and I connected immediately and I could tell she felt that help for the people there was going way too slow. Soon after that trip, Megan decided to go back down on her own to try and figure out what God was calling her to do. The short version is she decided to build a school for the Restaveks, child slaves, in Gressier. The long version is… read her book, Miracle on Voodoo Mountain.
After she established her school, Respire Haiti, I decided I wanted to help her by providing solar power for the school. I approached our solar panel manufacturer, SolarWorld, and they sounded interested in contributing. Years ago, if you had a worthy cause they would just send you some modules, but the rules have changed. So many non-profits and groups were asking for donations they had to put a program in place called Solar2World. The process became more like applying for a grant, with a board deciding the fate of the requests.
This process took time and effort, but much later we got the approval for 8 kilowatts! I had been keeping Outback Power, our inverter manufacturer in the loop over the years this took so they would be prepared for when I asked them for a donation to the project as well. Unfortunately, the timing wasn’t right for them and they had already given out all the donations for the year. What we needed was sizable, an 8000 watt Radian inverter and all supporting electronics. They did offer to reduce the price so we purchased everything else.
We shipped everything there and we are scheduled to fly down on October 21.