Solar Energy Assistance, Puerto Rico with Resilient Power Puerto Rico!
Hurricane Maria hit the island on September 20, 2017 with 150mph winds and upended 3.4 million people, leaving roads destroyed, and millions without electricity or water. According to statistics provided by USA TODAY, as of September 30th 45% of Puerto Rico has access to drinking water, 5% electric customers have power, 14% of cell towers are functioning, and 50% of roads cleared. Those volunteering in this effort will be part of a huge collaborative with a goal that will bring solar power to the entire island by 2021.
From an article posted to Architectural Record, the small Buena Vista community center located in San Juan, was finally able to turn on their generators on October 22nd. This was one of the first installations by Resilient Power PR that provided solar energy assistance to Puerto Rico and was comprised of a 5kW photovoltaic solar array which put the community center back online. They are specifically targeting local facilities such as health clinics, food kitchens, and other service providers.
It is times like these when people mobilize as quick as possible to help those that are in extreme need. As mentioned before, only 5% of electric customers have power, so Resilient Power Puerto Rico has dedicated itself to installing a long-term disaster-preparedness project with clean energy for the island. This effort has been put on by the Coastal Marine Resource Center (CMRC) and their mission comprises of three phases: Relief Hubs, 100 Solar Towns, and Power to the Residents, respectively. Relief hubs has a goal of installing as much energy as possible in the shortest amount of time, targeting the most affected and remote towns first. The systems installed in this effort would include charging devices, powering communication tools, and systems to filter water. Phase 2 will be the delivery of one hundred solar-electric kits to the 78 municipalities of the island. These solar hubs will be centrally located to promote a community gathering area. Phase 3 is expected to run up until 2021, which will be dedicated to promoting solar electric energy to every residence on the island.
The Resilient Power Puerto Rico team has raised over $150,000, allowing the quick mobilization of the solar equipment needed on the island. At least five arrays have been installed, and the non-profit is continuing their fundraising efforts to carry one their goal of 100 arrays in 100 days. On October 27th, the Resilient Power Puerto Rico had a special art tour to benefit their efforts as well in collaboration with Artist Natasha Schlesinger.
Tom Wineman of the Clean Energy Design team volunteered his time to Resilient Power Puerto Rico from October 6th to the 14th. Part of his involvement included driving from the northeast to Miami with a truck full of equipment, acquiring donations from vendors and individuals that Clean Energy Design collaborates with, and networking with a group of professionals that also donated their time. Tom looks forward to returning to Puerto Rico soon to continue the efforts, once more equipment can safely arrive to the island. Stay up to date with upcoming events and progress by following Resilient Power Puerto Rico Facebook Page.
For more information and to donate, please visit Resilient Power Puerto Rico!