At NRG, we are constantly looking for ways to both power the world and empower its people, especially in Haiti. This year, together with partners Blue Marble Dreams and Haiti 155, NRG will help launch Bèl Rèv (or "Sweet Dreams" in English), a unique ice cream store that will inspire and drive change.
Under the belief that entrepreneurship can help lift both the spirit and the economy of a community, Bèl Rèv will empower local women recovering from traumatic circumstances with the business training and employment they need to succeed now and in the future.
The project also pursues sound solutions more broadly by building a sustainable food business that sources products from Haitian farmers and producers, engages area tradespeople and overall serves to support the local economy. On the whole, Bèl Rèv is creating an attractive solution that aspiring entrepreneurs can consider when wanting to revitalize their own communities.
The store will include a solar installation and produce enough power to offset the entire ice cream operation. The Bèl Rèv shop is being designed in a sustainable and cutting-edge manner using repurposed shipping containers donated by Malark and designed by Metalab Studio and Mobile Grid. NRG is funding container modifications that include the solar and microgrid installation.
The microgrid on-site will be made up of 9kW worth of solar panels, 10kW of batteries, inverters and a 10kW generator. With this infrastructure, Bèl Rèv will still be able to function in the absence of grid power, thereby preventing any costly disruptions to its operations and service.
Facts and Tid-bits
- Blue Marble Dreams is the nonprofit venture of Blue Marble Ice Cream, NYC's beloved purveyor of certified organic ice cream
- In partnership with a group of women from Butare, Rwanda, Blue Marble Dreams opened their town's first-ever ice cream shop in 2010. Today the shop is 100% self-sustaining
- Bèl Rèv will be located in the lively Port au Prince neighborhood of Fontamara, built on the land where the childhood home of Haiti 155's founders, Lionel and Constant Bernard, once stood
The Partnership with Clinton Foundation
Our ongoing partnership with the Clinton Foundation follows the 2012 completion of NRG's $1 million commitment (made through the Clinton Global Initiative) to bring the benefits of clean, safe solar power in Haiti to a fish farm, a farm drip irrigation system and 20 schools.
NRG employee volunteers have spent weeks at a time in Haiti, volunteering alongside community members to assist with the development and maintenance of our investments in Haitian infrastructure. Our continued commitment to developing solar in Haiti will ultimately empower more Haitians to benefit from successful and sustainable economic development opportunities.