Alan Mickelson’s research group's efforts in Haiti have focused on training of local youth to install and maintain solar energy systems. At the Neges Foundation's Mon P’tit Village compound in Leogane, Haiti, Alan’s team carried out a "train the trainers” operation. Five Haitian teachers were first versed in solar photovoltaics by a team of University of Colorado engineering students. The group of teachers subsequently worked with a team of roughly ten local youths, teaching them the basics of green energy in a six month curriculum. The curriculum was a hands-on one that involved constructing and reconfiguring a 2 kW solar system whose parts had been supplied by Alan’s team with funding from IEEE and the Mortenson Center.
The Mickelson team then moved on to the far southwest of Haiti, an area of the country that has been relatively untouched by politics or development. With the exception of the resort town of Les Cayes, the southwest of Haiti is largely without any form of power other than small diesel generators. Alan’s group there teamed with the L’Institut Technologie de la Côte Sud (ITCS), a small vocational school in Coteaux that offers two year vocational programs in a number of fields including construction, computers, and electrical contracting. As in Leogane, Alan’s team worked with faculty who constructed a 12 kW photovoltaic system that now supplies a significant portion of Institute’s needs for power as well as for training students in the new green energy program that Alan and students helped to produce. As was the case in Leogane, essentially all of the students of the first graduating class found internships in the budding solar energy business of Haiti. The need for training of Haitians as well as for solar energy installations that can serve as an examples for the populace of how best to power homes and businesses. Alan is presently working with the community of Founds des Blancs that lies deep in the central mountains of the southwest.