Groundbreaking solar project completed at Haitian hospital


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Project is the first in a series planned for developing world to reduce fossil fuel use, provide reliable power

Engineering design and consulting firm Mazzetti Nash Lipsey Burch has announced the completion of the first renewable-energy installation for a developing world hospital in Milot, Haiti. The project is the first in a larger effort by the firm to bring clean, affordable, and reliable energy and sustainable design to the developing world. The 2010 earthquake cut off Hôpital Sacré Coeur from the electricity grid. Since then, the hospital has had to supply their own power from diesel generators, which are expensive to run and emit substantial particulate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The hospital's power is the only electricity available for the entire town of Milot and the newly installed solar system provides power at a reduced cost, and provides more reliable power to improve the safety of patient care. "The electricity that powers the hospital is often the only light source available for the entire town, and is therefore important to the entire community," said Ron Bourgault, Mazzetti's chief electrical engineer. Bourgault has traveled to Milot three times in the last two years to help upgrade the hospitals' electrical wiring, including the installation of new generators and to install the solar system. "The children will often study in the streets at night by the light provided by the hospital because there is no other light available." Mazzetti is the project developer, having designed the system, raised money to pay for it, and organized volunteers and local contractors to install it. The hospital is paying for the system through an agreement with Mazzetti that is similar to power purchase agreements used in the U.S.: the engineering firm owns the panels, and the hospital pays a stable and affordable price for the power over time, and will eventually own the panels. For Crudem, the organization that owns and operates the hospital, the cost for energy produced by the solar system is substantially lower than what they pay to operate their existing diesel generators. "In addition to the new solar system, we installed an internet based monitoring system which allows us to monitor and record the performance of the system in Milot. The hourly data upload allows us to predict when a cloud is overhead and the location of the sun as the different arrays produce different levels of energy as the sun moves across the sky," said Bourgault. Mazzetti plans to become a major project developer of renewable energy systems in the developing world by 2020. Mazzetti is also working in collaboration with the Sextant Foundation and the architecture firm MASS Design Group to plan for other sustainable public health projects. MASS and Mazzetti have teamed up to transform health care in Port-au-Prince through the country's first permanent cholera treatment center, and Mazzetti has been instrumental in the water system's design. The wastewater treatment system treats all of the wastewater from the facility on-site—ultimately reducing any further transmittance of the disease. Other Mazzetti projects underway with MASS Design Group include a tuberculosis hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and a pediatric Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. "We have long-term plans to invest in sustainable infrastructure across the developing world, where it can provide incredible value to local communities," said Mazzetti CEO, Walt Vernon. "Sustainable design can lower operational costs for vital services such as hospitals, decrease environmental impact and most importantly, improve the quality of life for people." Mazzetti Nash Lipsey Burch Sextant Foundation MASS Design Group