Work on the IEEE/Sirona Haiti Rural Electricity Project continues, all day every day, regardless of the fact that the blog falls behind at times. In Haiti, our six operating SunBlazers deliver energy to 240 homes a day. Every month our field technicians visit each station to ensure that everything is operating perfectly. Haiti's environment is a challenging one, and so far the units deployed in June have withstood the Caribbean climate and everything is working well. Our customers are satisfied with their home energy kits and only a few kits have needed repair since deployment. Repairs are most frequently fixing loose connections resulting from a unit being dropped. In a few cases the kits have required resetting because the battery was drained to the point of engaging the low voltage disconnect. Our kits are designed for longevity, and the repairs have been handled by our field technicians without problem. This type of warranty is very rare in Haiti. When asked by new Operators how long the station will last, we are always happy to say, "As long as you pay your lease". Operator and customer satisfaction are critical to us, and the lease payments allow us to provide full service technicians and replacement of parts as needed.
We are preparing to import nine new units into Haiti this spring which were donated by the IEEE and the CSI volunteers. We will build an additional nine units in Haiti this summer with a grant from USAID. USAID/OTI has many projects in the St. Marc area and we will be deploying nine of our units there as soon as the grant process is complete. With the addition of these 18 units Sirona will have 24 units operating servicing 1,920 homes. This grant with USAID is almost complete, however Sirona must complete it's registration process in Haiti. We are busy with completion of that process now.
NGO registration has historically been a process that takes many years. Rather than engage in the expense of registration Sirona has partnered with registered entities and worked without issue for the past three years. Now, however, our projects have grown in magnitude and it is time to complete the official processes of full Haitian registration. The current government has been working to speed the registration processes up, and we are optimistic that we will be registered in the coming weeks.
Last week Sirona received strong support from the Secretary of Energy, Dr. Rene Jean Jumeau, in the form of a Letter of Intent. This letter allows us to operate legally for a year while we complete the formal registration requirements. The support from the Haitian government has been steady and we are very grateful for all of the efforts that have been made to help Sirona provide energy to rural Haitians. It is clear that President Martelly's administration is very focused upon energy as one of its top goals. Dr. Jumeau works to coordinate all of the actors in the energy sector to increase the impact that each organization might have on its own. The admininstration's goal? 200,000 homes in two years. Sirona is excited to be assisting with this goal.
The blog lapses from time to time simply because we are so busy with all of the projects that are in process. Soon I hope to be reporting the more exciting news of deployment and the impact that having basic, sustainable energy gives to people who live far from the grid in Haiti.