Story Highlights
  • ESMAP support underpinned two new World Bank projects to help Haiti improve access to electricity and scale up investments in renewable energy.
  • An ESMAP analysis resulted in the inclusion of grid-connected solar photovoltaic in the Renewable Energy Project.
  • ESMAP also helped design approaches for mini grid development and Lighting Global provided a quality assurance framework for off-grid renewable energy.
Powering Haiti's Future
March 21 2018

Electricity reaches less than one-quarter of Haiti’s population, stalling economic and social development. Access is limited in rural areas and is highly skewed toward higher income groups.

Renewable energy sources such as solar, hydropower, wind, and biomass have enormous potential to bridge the energy access gap by providing more reliable power on the country’s main grid and by powering off-grid energy solutions. More than 5 million people could be reached through solar photovoltaic (PV) alone. Yet, only hydropower has been exploited, and only partially.

“Haiti has significant untapped sources of renewable energy,” said Anabela Abreu, World Bank’s Country Director for Haiti. “The country is taking an important step in creating the enabling environment for private investors and in boosting access to electricity. The World Bank Group will continue to support the country in providing sustainable renewable energy to increase access for families, businesses, and community services in underserved areas, diversify its energy mix, and reduce electricity cost.”

In October 2017, the World Bank approved two projects totaling US$35 million to help Haiti improve access to electricity for more than 2 million Haitians and to scale up investments in renewable energy in underserved rural and urban areas.

The Renewable Energy for All and Haiti Modern Energy Services for All projects reflect the World Bank’s commitment to help Haiti tackle energy poverty in a holistic manner. These projects will expand access to electricity for urban and rural households by integrating renewable energy to the utility grids in urban areas and by leveraging mini grid and off-grid solutions in rural areas. To incentivize private sector engagement, the projects will provide financing to energy companies and local organizations. It will improve the environment for private investment in renewable energy.

ESMAP tackled the challenge from multiple angles to help these projects get off the ground. Building on a wealth of best practices and lessons learned from similar projects around the world, ESMAP support enabled the government of Haiti to develop a comprehensive energy program.

First, ESMAP funding helped the government identify potential on-grid investments by analyzing and modelling the integration of solar PV energy and battery systems to the utility’s smaller grids, serving provincial capitals and secondary cities. The analysis pre-identified viable investments, which were prioritized in the project. In addition, it identified the key regulatory constraints for grid-connected solar energy and outlined ways to address them. A specific assessment of renewable energy potential contributed to the government’s decision to eliminate import duties for several renewable energy products. 

In parallel, ESMAP’s Mini Grid Facility and Lighting Global initiative mobilized an expert team who helped the government develop approaches for mini grid and off-grid electrification. For example, regulatory experts helped design a public-private partnership scheme for mini grids based on a partnership among the central and municipal governments, and private or cooperative mini-grid operators. Lighting Global complemented this support with the development of a quality assurance framework for off-grid renewable energy and best practices on the design of the financing facilities set up under the projects.


The Renewable Energy for All project is financed by a US$19.62 million grant from the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) and the Modern Energy Services for All project, which is financed by a US$15.65 million grant from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF). Both grants are from the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) and are part of the World Bank’s accelerated effort to provide clean energy and resilient infrastructure.