Port Au Prince Three Years Later: The Rebuilding Continues

This post was originally published in 2013. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

Three years after a 7.0 earthquake devastated Port au Prince, the capital of Haiti, the rebuilding process is still slowly moving forward. 

Marché en Fer: Iron Market

View from the front of the Marché en Fer, otherwise known as the Iron Market.

The Marché en Fer, otherwise known as the Iron Market, has been an iconic symbol in Port au Prince since it was erected in 1889. The Iron Market is an open-air bazaar famous for housing thousands of merchants selling artwork, spices, pigeons, turtles, and everything in between. The Iron Market was the first historical landmark in Haiti to be completely rebuilt. It re-opened in January 2011; just one short year after the earthquake shook the city.

“Build Back Better”

The clock tower and four minarets are a symbol of hope for the community whose slogan has become, “build back better,” the words of former President Bill Clinton. The new Iron Market is built to international codes, resistant to hurricanes and earthquakes, and 100 percent energy independent.

SMA Sunny Island 5048-US  Inverters

Providing Reliable Power

One of the biggest remaining challenges in Haiti is the unstable power grid. Coronado Solar was commissioned by Digitcel Group to install a 108 kW system, which would supply a reliable energy source to the bustling bazaar. The system was comprised of 502 solar panels, nine SMA Sunny Boy 6000-US inverters, nine SMA Sunny Boy 7000-US inverters, two SMA  Mulitcluster boxes with 18 SMA Sunny Island 5048-US  inverters, and 132 batteries.

A second racking system was created above the pre-existing roof to avoid shading.

Overcoming Obstacles

Many obstacles arose during the process of installing the system in the Iron Market. Working long hours and keeping workers supplied with fresh water and food was a daily obstacle for the 17 person crew. A city rebuilding from the ground up has limited access to these everyday staples. Another challenge arose when a second racking system needed to be created above the pre-existing roof to avoid shading. Two welding crews were established to weld and drill all of the steel members to mount the racking system to the building. After all the hard work, the finished product was a system that optimized the production of solar power for the market’s daily needs.

A butcher in Port au Prince, Haiti, accepts a food voucher as payment for some meat.

Making a Difference, One Building at a Time

Long before the earthquake hit, the Iron Market was in disrepair from years of neglect and a large fire in 2008. Today the market stands as a symbol of hope for the recovering city of Port au Prince. Three years after devastation hit the city of Port au Prince, the Iron Market is once again a bustling bazaar where locals gather to wander the aisles, a meeting place for friends and a livelihood for thousands of merchants.

Solar Spotlight aims to highlight SMA inverters in real-world situations. Email us with information about your SMA-powered PV projects at SocialMedia@SMA-America.com

 

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