STU Celebrates Completion of Major Solar Energy Project in Haiti's Poorest Region
The Archdiocese of Miami, FL, has a 30-year sister-diocese relationship with the Diocese of Port-de-Paix, Haiti (the poorest region of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere). In 2006, St. Thomas University began an initiative to leverage its faculty research and student learning resources into Haitian-led, long-term socioeconomic development projects in the region (including coffee development, artisan production, and sustainable energy initiatives).
One of these efforts was collaboration on a long-term solar energy system for the Cathedral and community center complex of Port-de-Paix. For the last three years a team of St. Thomas University faculty, staff, and students have worked with Haitian partners on the installation of an 18kw solar energy system for the complex as well as on hundreds of individual solar energy systems in the rural village of Ma Wouj. The projects were completed in December, 2013, and are now providing free, sustainable electricity to an area with no roads, little water, and no public electricity.
This work has been an “Engaged Scholarship” collaboration between St. Thomas University and Haiti Tec (a technical school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, co-founded by STU President Msgr. Franklyn Casale in 2001). St. Thomas University and Haiti Tec students brought their learning and expertise to the endeavor, while building local Haitian capacity to develop other such projects independently in the future.
For more information on St. Thomas University’s work in Haiti visit the STU Center for Community Engagement at www.stu.edu/cce.