Solar Engineering Project

March 08, 2013 – Written by Student Group
Engineering Group
Group members: Amanda Broseus, Jason Mulligan, Josh Hayes, Alex Broadstock, Phillipe Kenny, Brian Li, Archie Tram, and Michael Kahle
Led by: Ben Aring and Eric Moyer

Our primary project is to collaborate with the local community and engineering students to allow access to solar powered lighting and electricity. The system features four 260 Watt solar PV panels which will power six Lunera LED lights as well as a few power outlets. Outlets will be installed to allow for the charging of electrical appliances such as laptops and cell phones. As much of the system as possible will be purchased in Haiti.

In order to keep with the spirit of the Haiti Empowerment Project, we have invited students from local universities to aid in and learn from the installation process. Local community members will also assist with the installation and will be trained on how to conduct proper maintenance of the equipment. Educating the local community on the system’s construction and maintenance increases its long term sustainability, and offers the potential for the solar panel system to be expanded by the Haitians themselves. Our hope is that the Haitians will be able to reproduce our project in their own community and those nearby after we return to the United States.

Some of the engineering students will be travelling to the sites of the previous solar projects that were performed by the group in the last two years in the area of Croix-des-Bouquets. These students will evaluate the panel systems to see how they have held up since the initial installation. They will also be interviewing members of the local community to determine how the electricity is being used and to gauge the benefits that the solar panels have given the area.

Another group of engineering students will be evaluating the company "Enersa", an independently-owned solar panel manufacturer in the country, to determine the viability of solar power in Haiti from a business standpoint. This project will consist of visiting the main warehouse and interviewing the owners and employees.

The last project will concentrate on the potential of solar cooking as an alternative method to open-fire cooking. The students will be interviewing community members to learn about their daily cooking habits and their current awareness of solar cooking in order to build a foundation for implementing an effective solar cooking project in the future.