Social Impact: Scope/Number Reached Focused, Depth/Holistic Impact Focused
DFID, USAID, The 11th Hour Project
2012: IDEAS Innovation Contest – Winner
Limyè Pa w is an energy enterprise that operates in rural Haiti. They provide electricity to previously off-grid rural communities using renewable energy power sources. Limyè Pa w is launching its pilot with a biomass gasification-based generator, buying the biomass in the form of agricultural waste from local farmers. They will use both microgrid and battery-pack distribution models.
Portable Battery packs for entry-level customers will allow cell phone charging and the use of two DC LED lights in customers’ homes. Customers will rent all the equipment, paying a one-time installation fee and flat monthly fee that covers unlimited recharges of the battery.
For higher level customers a microgrid will bring electricity into their homes. They will pay a one-time sign-up fee which will include home-wiring and connection to the microgrid, and afterward will prepay for electricity. Different service tiers will allow different instantaneous power limits and have different minimum monthly spends.
Limyè Pa w is also experimenting with a model for industrial customers, and are currently providing power to the facility of an NGO in the agriculture sector that has ample amounts of appropriate biomass available.
The primary target market is residents of rural farming communities in Haiti.
These people, mostly farmers, have little to no access to electricity, with electrification rates hovering at around 5-10% in Haiti.
Additionally, they are looking at offering electrification services to local businesses and larger farms.
Limyè Pa w
Monthly flat fees for battery pack usage.
Payments to “top-up” prepaid accounts for microgrid-supplied electricity usage.
Limyè Pa w is combining elements from past and emerging rural electrification projects around the world to create a scalable business and impact model that is uniquely suited to the Haitian context, an extremely difficult place to create any lasting change.
Haiti has the lowest rate of per capita electricity usage in the Western Hemisphere; in rural areas only 5-10% of the population (~4 million) has access to an electrical grid.
Electricity is basic infrastructure for modern development.
Kerosene lamps are polluting, expensive and provide poor quality light.
Cell phones are used very sparingly because of the high costs associated with charging them in rural areas.
Refrigeration is almost non-existent, meaning there is little opportunity to preserve food.
Only those businesses with the ability to invest in fossil fuel-based generators and procure and transport the fuel to rural areas can take advantage of the increased productivity and new opportunities that come with using appliances and power tools.
The local health clinic has no access to refrigeration or quality lighting.
Where They Are Now
Impact to Date
Limyè Pa w is currently still in its pilot phase, but it seeks to have a broad impact throughout Haiti.
They will adjust their business model and extent of service along the way based on demand and effectiveness.
They are currently piloting and refining their business model, which they plan to implement across rural Haiti.
They hope to eventually scale internationally.
How They Deliver
Biomass feedstock for their generators is sourced from local farmers, many of whom are also customers.
A company based in California manufactures the biomass gasifier.
Battery packs are sourced from China in partnership with a Haitian social business, Sirona Cares.
Grid materials are sourced globally.
Limyè Pa w currently conducts all sales directly and distributes electricity through microgrids and portable battery packs.
The company is financing its pilot through grants and founder contributions.
After pilot launch and validation, Limyè Pa w will first focus on expanding business in Haiti. The government is eager to see private sector-based initiatives serve customers who are not reached by the state-run utility.
Limyè Pa w seeks to improve the quality of life of families in rural areas and provide individuals there with greater opportunities to flourish.
This will be done primarily by extending productive hours of the day, lowering the cost of cell phone usage, expanding business opportunities and improving the ability of local health clinics to serve their communities.