21 Jan Haiti, December 2014: WWST’s Mickey Ingles, returns to Port au Prince.
WWST’s VP of Operations, Mickey Ingles, recently returned to Port au Prince, Haiti, as part of a follow up mission and site inspection to see how his relatively new endeavor, Energy Central, was faring. In 2013, Ingles co-founded Energy Central in Port au Prince as a WorldWater mentoring program “for providing engineering and technical training support as well as sourcing inventory stateside for shipment into Haiti.” Says Ingles, “the mission of this Haitian company, Energy Central S.A., is to foster and create a self-sustaining solar industry in Haiti. This industry will create well paying, environmentally responsible, skilled jobs for Haitian workers.” Since its inception and under WorldWater’s guidance, Energy Central has been busy installing panels for private, commercial and government buildings.
As Ingles is no rookie in the solar industry and he is certainly no stranger to Haiti — he has worked in the country for many years — it was exciting to glean more about his time spent there while he briefed us about this recent trip. WorldWater mentor program with Energy Central aside, it turns out he has also piqued the interest of others who have had to privilege to work with him whether up on a roof or out in the field installing solar panels: back in 2005, The Haitian Project (THP) wrote about Mickey’s contribution and work with their Louverture Cleary School (LCS), located outside of Port au Prince in a town known as Santo. On the ten year anniversary of this fine profile on Mickey and with permission by THP, we are reposting the story:
Practical Use of Talent
By Elizabeth O’Connell
You cannot spend much time with Mickey Ingles and not learn something about how our everyday choices impact the planet. A solar expert and diligent worker, Ingles is a teacher in word and example on all issues environmental. LCS and THP have benefited from his unique talent for bringing electricity and water to where it’s scarce since he first came to visit his future wife, Aimee Maier, at LCS in 1997 while working a solar pump project in Cape Haitian.
Improvements at LCS are constant proof that God’s plans are always better then the best of man’s plans. Subsequently, it was no surprise that the Ingles-Maier merger presented the exact skills our community needed to solve two of the school’s nagging issues: dependable electricity and consistent water supply. Quickly seen as the solution to Haiti’s daily blackouts and LCS’ sporadic water production, Ingles was introduced to his second courtship in Haiti, the solarization of LCS, by then THP President Patrick Moynihan.
At first, conversations were simply about setting up solar pumps. As Ingles’ love for LCS increased, so did the size of the solar plan. When you fall for LCS it is always in a big way. The final plan called for the total solarization LCS, making LCS the first completely solar sufficient campus. Installation of what would eventually be a 22.5 kilowatt system consisting of 184 panels was launched in August of 2005. With the generously allowed flexibility for time away granted by WorldWater & Power Corporation, Ingles was able to travel to Haiti for all four solar installations and several pre-installation planning trips.
“Now that the physical work is done, the usage phase has begun,” says Ingles. “The THP/LCS community has taken on a huge challenge. Maintaining this system will take consistent effort. We need to continue to provide education and maintenance.”
Education is a key when it comes to conservation and use of solar power. On each trip to Haiti, Ingles walks the school campus with staff members and visitors, pointing to appliances and light switches and providing details on how much power is consumed and how much energy can be saved by replacing a regular light bulb with a compact florescent light bulb. These are important lessons one is treated to on a walk with Ingles. Ingles is more than just solar expert for LCS, he is a life-style expert for us all.
Ingles reports that the completion of the installation process is “bittersweet”. “My focus with THP has been with solar power installation for so long and now that job is done,” he says, “It has been a fun challenge and I’ve worked with some great people within THP community, and what’s greatest about these people is most of these people weren’t being paid for their work. They worked and they continue to do more because they believe in the mission of this community.” Ingles, too, has worked relentlessly as a volunteer on this great effort. His personal integrity, respect and willingness to employ his God given gifts for free are a great witness to what it means to be a servant and lead others in making the world to a better place.
Mickey may now feel a “sense of loss” with the completion of this huge project, but the THP community is confident that, like other members of the Haitian Project team, there will always be a role for Mickey to fill and his skills will continue to be needed in very practical ways for the continued growth of our THP/LCS community.
This article first appeared in the March 2007 edition of Haitian Project News and reposted January 2015 with permission by The Haitian Project.