Quantcast

This Brilliant Initiative Is Sending 100 Solar Trailers to Puerto Rico for Free

Renewable Energy
Puerto Rico National Guard / Flickr

A remarkable collaborative effort to deploy portable solar energy systems to relieve critical areas in Puerto Rico is well underway.

The "Power On Puerto Rico" project from the Amicus Solar Cooperative, a nationwide solar energy cooperative, and Amurtel, an international disaster relief nonprofit, is sending 100 off-grid Solar Outreach Systems (SOS) to the storm-battered island.


New England-based solar company ReVision Energy is building the emergency power hubs at a warehouse in North Andover, Massachusetts. These 12-foot-long trailers each come with six foldable solar panels and can charge cellphones, lights, radios, laptops and other other low-load items.

Notably, the off-grid systems will be loaned at no cost to the communities for as long as they need them. Once they are no longer needed, the units will be redeployed to other areas as needs and events dictate.

"It is a 100 percent volunteer donation. Nobody is getting paid," ReVision Co-Founder Phil Coupe told the Portland Press Herald.

Ten of these trailers will be initially sent to remote community centers for residents to charge their gadgets.

While the SOS can't run whole buildings, "this is going to be supplemental emergency power for basic lighting, small electronics, communications," Coupe said.

Amicus

Coupe told the Press Herald it could take three to six months to finish building all 100 planned units.

While the Puerto Rican government said the island's power should be mostly restored by Christmas, Coupe pointed out that the ReVision systems will still be important resources since they can be redeployed to other places that need emergency power.

"Based on the level of damage that we are getting reports on, these things will be useful for a year or more," he said.

"We are preparing for a climate where bad weather events are getting worse all the time," Coupe noted. "In that environment, a utility grid infrastructure with poles and wires is extremely vulnerable. Systems with power regeneration and batteries are proving to be resilient to those events."

The SOS units will be deployed by the Aireko Foundation, the Puerto Rican wing of Aireko Energy Solutions. Both Aireko and ReVision are Amicus members.

About half of the U.S. citizens living on Puerto Rico are entering their third month without electricity following the devastating Category 4 hurricane. The power restoration process has been grueling and mired in controversy (see Whitefish Energy).

"The aftermath of Hurricane Maria has been as strong and even harder, than the path of the storm itself, especially for those communities that are lucky enough to have this service, which are very few. Sadly, those communities are far from returning to their normal lives," said Hector Rivera Russe of Aireko Energy Solutions in a statement.

"I'm deeply touched by how my Amicus partners, alongside Amurtel, have jumped without hesitation, to putting their time, resources and effort to give relief to my people in Puerto Rico. I will always be thankful to them."

According to Amicus, while much of the design and components are being donated by its members, financial support will still be needed to see the project succeed. Donations are tax deductible and can be made here. Or you can send a check to Amurtel, PO Box 232, Warren, VT 05674.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A baby burrowing owl perched outside its burrow on Marco Island, Florida. LagunaticPhoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Burrowing owls, which make their homes in small holes in the ground, are having a rough time in Florida. That's why Marco Island on the Gulf Coast passed a resolution to pay residents $250 to start an owl burrow in their front yard, as the Marco Eagle reported.

Read More
Amazon and other tech employees participate in the Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. Amazon Employees for Climate Justice continue to protest today. Karen Ducey / Getty Images

Hundreds of Amazon workers publicly criticized the company's climate policies Sunday, showing open defiance of the company following its threats earlier this month to fire workers who speak out on climate change.

Read More
Sponsored
Locusts swarm from ground vegetation as people approach at Lerata village, near Archers Post in Samburu county, approximately 186 miles north of Nairobi, Kenya on Jan. 22. "Ravenous swarms" of desert locusts in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia threaten to ravage the entire East Africa subregion, the UN warned on Jan. 20. TONY KARUMBA / AFP / Getty Images

East Africa is facing its worst locust infestation in decades, and the climate crisis is partly to blame.

Read More
The Antarctic Peninsula on Feb. 28, 2019. Daniel Enchev / Flickr

By Dan Morgan

Antarctica is the remotest part of the world, but it is a hub of scientific discovery, international diplomacy and environmental change. It was officially discovered 200 years ago, on Jan. 27, 1820, when members of a Russian expedition sighted land in what is now known as the Fimbul Ice Shelf on the continent's east side.

Read More
The seafood market in Wuhan, China that has been linked to the spread of the new coronavirus. HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP via Getty Images

China banned its trade in wild animals Sunday until the new coronavirus, which was linked to a market in Wuhan where wildlife was sold, is eradicated. Now, conservationists are calling on the country to make the ban permanent.

Read More