Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Solar-Powered Lamps Impact Developing Countries

Miami-based businessman William Pino was most recently the president and CEO of Main Street Engineering, where he managed daily operations. A designer of municipal outdoor lighting projects in and around Miami, William Pino has more than three decades of experience in the lighting industry. William Pino takes a particular interest in solar energy and its potential benefits for developing countries such as Haiti.

Electricity, something most Americans take for granted, is essential for the safety, well-being, and economy of any nation. When streets are unlit, crime increases. When stores cannot light their interiors, they must close at sundown. When students don’t have access to electric lamps, they cannot study after nightfall. Bigger problems arise when hospitals, industries, and infrastructure are crippled due to lack of power.

Following Haiti’s disastrous earthquake of 2010, even more people were left without power in a nation that already experienced low access to electricity. As of 2013, only 20 percent of the island had power, provided mainly from diesel fuel imported from Venezuela. Many experts believed that alternative energy sources, such as solar power, would help the Haitian population and economy.

In 2015, a Netherlands-based producer of solar-powered lamps called WakaWaka began an initiative that provided small, individual, solar powered fixtures to Haitians who were still without power. The lamps, normally sold for about $30, provide up to 80 hours of continuous light. Through the company’s efforts and the generosity of those that participated in the crowd-funded drive, over 12,000 lamps were donated to the people of Haiti, positively affecting 60,000 lives.