Haiti is set to build microgrids in isolated rural areas after receiving a $150m loan from Taiwan, newspaper Haiti Libre reports.

The loan is slated to support President Jovenel Moïse’s 2017 promise to provide 24/7 electric power for the country’s entire population within two years.

In addition to investing in the national grid, part of the loan will focus on building microgrids with a priority on renewables according to statements by Jude Salomon, the finance and economy minister.

Under President Moïse’s electrification plan, Haiti aims to install 600 km of power transmission lines connecting 16 major cities. According to Haiti Libre, critics have called the plan “impossible” within the allotted two-year timeframe and have said it will take up to seven years.

Currently, around one-third of Haiti’s population has reliable access to electricity. Loss-making national utility Electricité d’Haiti supplies around 13 hours of power per day across the country from an installed base of 313 MW, with many power plants needing urgent repair.

In January, Haiti’s electricity regulator issued a pre-qualification notice for developers to build and operate renewable or hybrid mini- and microgrids, with support offered for partnerships between municipalities and private firms.  

The country currently features several functioning microgrids, including one built in 2016 in the town of Môle-Saint-Nicolas by startup Sigora International and another (pictured) built by non-profit Earthspark International in the southern commune of Les Anglais. Both firms say they plan further projects in the country. 

Image credit: Earthspark International