SunKalinago 2009/10

The people of the Kalinago, the indigenous people of Dominica, live in the Carib Territory, a reservation on the Caribbean island of Dominica, North of Martinique. This population of 3,000, belongs to the last indigenous people of the Caribbean. They live in a remote, steep, and barely accessible area at the East coast of the island; thus they have survived numerous invasions of the Caribbean islands. During our Atlantic crossing with the solar boat, “Sun21”, we met with the Carib chief, Charles Williams--thanks to the connection with Renate Siegenthaler, a Swiss-Austrian woman who lives in Dominica. Williams was very interested in solar and wind energy. Until then electricity was very expensive, as it was produced by an ecologically-problematic oil-power plant, even though if able to harness, there is abundant solar-, wind-, and geothermal energy available there.


Together with the energy expert Markus Kohler, we designed a plan to introduce 100 % renewable energy for the Kalinago people. We constructed a solar collector on the roof of a new medical center in order to heat the water with solar energy. We sponsored a project for drying fruit using a solar dryer – the Swiss solar pioneer, Alec Gagneux, taught this technique to the people of the Carib territory.


We also planned more solar- and wind installations for this territory. The implementation has been postponed as there is a large geothermal project expected to provide all of the energy needs of the Island.