While Puerto Rico has been working to recover after being slammed by Hurricane Maria, the realization that it is critical to rebuild in a way which is both smart and resilient is coming to light. Solar energy and its benefits are being realized, as the largest residential solar companies in the nation, Empowered by Light and Sunrun (a leading home solar energy and solar power company), partner with local leaders in Puerto Rico to set up a 4kW solar array with battery storage at local fire stations. The idea is to promote a future which is more sustainable and resilient with the help of numerous solar companies, as per a recent article published on Common Dreams.
So much of the power grid for the island has yet to be restored. Financial challenges existed even before Hurricane Maria struck, and the government has been criticized for slow efforts as it relates to disaster relief.
The co-founder of Empowered by Light, Marco Krapels, has mentioned that the federal emergency response is turning to diesel in an effort to bring power back to Puerto Rico, but his belief is that renewable energy is a better alternative. Shifting the focus to solar power is becoming a trend across the globe.
Rooftop solar and storage offer a resilient option, as per Lynn Jurich, the CEO of Sunrun. She recognizes that extreme weather will impact communities in the future and it is important to rebuild in a way that is smart and offers resilience. Rooftop solar is just one way to do this. It would seem that renewable energy solutions such as solar would be a given when it comes to emergency relief efforts, because solar energy which is offered by the sun is abundant. The same can be said about wind power.
Solar powered water desalination systems, as well as portable solar powered units are being used to help more secluded communities in Puerto Rico thanks to GivePower (a nonprofit), Zero Mass Water and Empowered by Light and Sunrun.
A national solar industry organization, The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), has recently sent help to Puerto Rico. A United States company, New Star Solar, has partnered with Light Up Puerto Rico, another organization offering relief efforts to the area, to bring solar equipment to more rural areas such as Salinas, Naranjito, Aguadilla, Las Marias, and Mayaguez.
It is wonderful to see solar companies are coming together and ignoring the fact that they are competitors in an effort to help the island. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and renowned tech inventor, has become a part of the discussion regarding revamping the energy system of Puerto Rico. He is working with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló to explore and implement the best possible strategies.
According to Rosselló, “We can’t be talking about just putting back the old grid again. We need to be talking about how we’re going to innovate, how this destruction gives us now a platform to not just rebuild, but to transform Puerto Rico.”
Continuing to stay on top of solar news coming out of Puerto Rico will certainly prove to be enlightening, at the very least.