A picture is worth a thousand words, and this is a photo of the first home battery kit that we are putting into a Haitian home next month. This kit is one of 240 that will be sent out into the rural parts of Haiti bringing the first electricity to these homes. Each customer will receive this battery, the lights, the wiring, and a cell phone charger, and for $50 Haitian dollars per month they can recharge their battery as often as they need to and provide light to their families.
$50 Haitian dollars may sound like a lot, but converted to our dollar we're talking about $6.21 per month for electric light. This is a pilot price that we are studying to see if it works for the customers and the entrepreneur who runs the charging station. Our price was set by surveying the amount that Haitians pay for cell phone charging, candles and kerosene, costs all offset by this unit. Each entrepreneur receives a trailer with six large solar panels and an additional four large batteries to run a business for himself. The goal is to create a situation where he can make a good living from the equipment and make a $200/month US lease payment.
We are carefully designing the entire project with several goals in mind. Foremost, we want the entrepreneur to succeed and start his business with no debt. For the first three months he can collect and keep all customer lease payment to purchase the equipment he will need to start his business. Almost every one of these first six unit managers are proposing refrigerators as an equipment need. We are allowing them to create any business that will work for them in their area. In one case it's an internet cafe with cold drinks. That station is co-located with a school and church on the road to Jacmel- a beautiful road with no rest stops. Another is in a village where they plan to use the equipment for multiple small businesses, ironing, juice making, cold drinks and coffee drying.
By giving entrepreneurs a head start we help them succeed in using the equipment to their advantage and be able to make the lease payments that keep the program sustainable. Our goal is to work in harmony with the Haitian utilities and as power becomes available in areas we will have created for them customers that can pay for power. All of our equipment is mobile, so as we become obsolete in one area we will move further into the dark parts of Haiti and create businesses and provide homes with light until the utilities reach them. When all of Haiti has power we can roll our units out and into other countries where the need for light and small business development exists.
All of this is made possible by the ingenuity and compassion of members of the IEEE (Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers). The CSI Group (Community Solutions Initiative) has worked tirelessly developing this culturally appropriate solution for Haiti. The units are currently being fabricated and readied for transport. The IEEE groups who have provided funding for this program are: Humanitarian Technology Challenge (HTC), Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society (NPSS) and Power and Energy Society (PES). Sirona Cares is very grateful to the IEEE for investing in Haiti, and excited about working with them to deploy these pilots in February.