EarthSpark microgrid fared well as Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti
October 26, 2016
Despite losing a quarter of its solar panels, the EarthSpark microgrid “fared comparatively well” when Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti, according to a company blog.
“After three long days of radio silence, we were able to re-establish communication with our team and confirmed that all EarthSpark and Enèji Pwòp team members are safe and accounted for,” said the blog.
Most Les Anglais homes and businesses were destroyed or severely damaged. Trees have been reduced to stumps.
“We don't yet know the full toll of casualties,” it said. “So far, people are taking the situation in stride, sheltering where they can, and relying on well water.”
The microgrid lost around 25 per cent of the solar panels, but the generation system is largely intact. The company is working with multiple stakeholders on a plan to retool the energy assets to power urgent disaster relief efforts. Most of the homes and businesses connected to the grid were destroyed, so beyond relief work, the company is planning in tandem with reconstruction efforts to re-establish the poles-and-wires distribution system of electricity for the town.
“Many thanks to everyone who helped directly or expressed concern as we worked to re-establish contact with our team,” said the blog. “We stand with the people of Les Anglais and all of Haiti's southwest peninsula as they work to recover and reconstruct.”
When Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti via Les Anglais, EarthSpark's team, grid, and customers were at the very centre of the storm. Since all communications went down in the area, and roads and bridges were wiped out, the full extent of the damage and loss in Les Anglais is still not clear.
As the storm was approaching, many helped prepare sandbags to protect the generation system from damage, and the company’s international team managed a controlled disconnection of all power components just before the storm to increase safety and the potential for restoration.
“Once we know the status of the components we will be able to assess if and how we can use what remains to power relief efforts,” said the blog. “Right now, we are most anxious to hear from our team, customers and friends in Les Anglais. The community will be reeling from the effects of this storm for months to come. EarthSpark will work to get the lights back on and the power flowing to help the community and the region recover.”