As Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands struggle to recover from Hurricane Maria, which left Puerto Rico essentially powerless, The Solar Foundation and solar companies have come together to launch Solar Saves Lives. The new organization has already received promises for more than $5 million in solar equipment from 20 solar companies to provide relief.
Even yesterday (Nov. 9) part of the electric grid that was repaired by the controversial Whitefish Energy in Puerto Rico failed again. Power was restored to 40 percent of the island until the massive new failure yesterday, which dropped to 18 percent following the failure. What’s not failing are the new solar and microgrid systems being installed on the island.
“Since the storms hit, solar and battery storage companies have been on the ground providing immediate relief while building a more resilient infrastructure for the future. And much more remains to be done,” stated Solar Foundation Executive Director Andrea Luecke. The new organization will help meet that need.
A first priority for the new organization is restoring power to two food markets in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The markets are providing critical food resources to the territory’s most dense population. It also aims to restore power to 62 rural medical clinics in Puerto Rico, observing that many of which remain closed since they don’t have access to power.
“The Solar Foundation is proud to lead this effort in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, Operation Blessing, Direct Relief, and J/P HRO,” Luecke said. “We are seeking both product donations of solar equipment and monetary contributions that will help buy additional products and ship the equipment directly where it is needed.”
The Solar Foundation said its work builds on efforts from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and other solar companies. It is encouraging people to make monetary contributions and is setting up fundraising events.
Solar companies are donating solar panels, inverters, energy storage systems, solar lighting, and more. Among the companies that already have made commitments are: Sunrun, BayWa r.e. Solar Systems, the SunSpec Alliance, CAM Solar, Carolina Solar Energy, Solight Design, Renogy, Campervan HQ, and Prana Power.
“By making product donations that will bring electricity to places where it’s needed the most, the solar industry can make an immediate impact today. We are proud to support this effort to aid the recovery from these devastating hurricanes and build a more resilient future,” said Boaz Soifer, CEO, BayWa r.e. Solar Systems.
The new organization will coordinate transportation of the donated equipment to the devastated areas. Its partners will coordinate shipping, distribution and will ensure the equipment’s installed properly.
Operation Blessing and other groups will transport products from Miami to either Puerto Rico or the USVI. Direct Relief and other groups will distribute and potentially install donated goods where they are needed.Tweet