With over 100,000 jatropha trees planted (and an additional 150,000 funded for next year) we will soon see dramatic economic changes in rural Haiti. Each tree produces enough oil-rich seeds to create a gallon of oil that is a drop-in replacement for diesel fuel. This means that for the next 25-45 these 100,000 trees will bring economic improvement to rural Haitians while the trees improve soil and reverse deforestation. A critical byproduct of producing jatropha oil is a charcoal replacement briquette that is made by pressing the residue or seedcake from the pressing process. Our nurseries each produce 10,000 seedlings every three months and farmers eagerly take these seedlings to their land and plant them without displacing any food crops. Our press needs repairs and as soon as it is ready we will make our first oil. 2012 promises to be another incredible year.
We end 2011 with 240 homes that have their first electricity. Far from the grid these homes are serviced by the IEEE/Sirona Haiti Rural Electricity Program. The IEEE worked with Sirona to design and ultimately deploy six Sunblazer units. These are 1.5kW solar charging stations run by entrepreneurial Operators. Each Operator has forty customers who pay a modest $6.70 per month for basic electricity. Customers receive an energy kit that has a rechargeable battery, lights and the ability to charge cellular phones. When the kit is exhausted (five to seven days on average) the customer brings the battery kit back to the charging station and three hours later the kit is ready to return to their home. The IEEE and the Sirona team have been thrilled to see that, due to our culturally appropriate business plan, all 240 customers have paid every month, every Operator has made his lease payment to Sirona keeping the program sustainable, and nothing has been stolen or damaged since deployment in June.
This program has had such success that the Haitian Secretary of Energy has announced that Sirona Haiti's electricity program is the model for electrification of rural villages. USAID is supporting the program by building Sirona a Haitian assembly facility. This spring the first Haitian built Sunblazers will roll out to rural communities and provide the first electricity many have ever had--at a price lower than what they are currently paying for noxious kerosene, candles and cell phone charging.
We are very excited for next year, the groundwork has been laid for amazing progress to occur in 2012. As the year ends we thank all of our partners and friends in Haiti, our supporters, all of our donors, all of the IEEE volunteers and all of the funding provided by the IEEE for the Sunblazer pilot units. We thank the Government of Haiti for including Sirona in the energy sector strategic planning process and inviting us to display our unit at the Caricom Energy Week events. Many have read the article in World Magazine, and we appreciate all of the kind words and donations that this article has generated. Thank you, one and all. 2012 promises to be a very exciting year full of progress in Haiti and beyond. Year end donations are graciously accepted by the Sirona Cares Foundation!