- Sunrun and several renewable energy nonprofits have partnered to deliver solar-powered projects to Puerto Rico, as the island struggles to recover from Hurricane Maria's devastation in September.
- Most of the island remains without power, a month after the Category 4 storm made landfall. Other companies, including Sonnen and Tesla, are also sending energy storage and microgrid components to assist the island.
- Along with Sunrun, Empowered by Light, Givepower and Zero Mass Water are working to install solar microgrids, water desalination and purification systems, and water production systems at fire stations on Puerto Rico.
A month after Hurricane Maria knocked out power to all of Puerto Rico's 3.5 million residents, the devastated island is still largely without electricity — and finding clean drinking water is a challenge as well. In addition to humanitarian relief, renewable energy companies now see an opportunity to prove on the ground that solar energy and storage are more resilient energy options for the island.
Last week, a 4 kW solar array with battery storage was installed at the Barrio Obrero fire station in San Juan and a second installation was in the works. Water desalination and purification systems are also being deployed.
“It appears the federal emergency response is focused on diesel to repower the island,” Marco Krapels, co-founder of Empowered by Light, said in a statement. “We wanted to demonstrate with real projects — with immediate impact — that renewable energy technology is available now and it’s a much more resilient alternative to diesel.”
The effort, led by Empowered by Light, includes the delivery and installation of the two solar-powered microgrids, and the deployment of three solar-powered water desalination systems, five water production systems and three portable solar-powered units to remote communities on the island.
"It’s critical to rebuild smarter with resilient, distributed power like rooftop solar and storage," said Sunrun CEO Lynn Jurich.
Tesla has sent hundreds of battery storage packs to help Puerto Rico, and German energy storage company Sonnen plans to build microgrids on the island. Sonnen is working with its local partner, Pura Energia, to identify targeted "emergency relief sites," where they can provide a stable microgrid for local communities.