Empowered by Light, a nonprofit partnered with actor Mark Ruffalo, Sunrun, Givepower and Zero Mass Water have come together to aid in disaster recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. The organizations announced today (Oct. 13) that they are installing solar-powered microgrids with water desalinization and purification systems at fire stations in Puerto Rico.
"Energy from the sun and wind are abundant, and can be used to power Puerto Rico. I think renewable energy solutions should be integrated into any emergency relief effort,” Ruffalo, who supported the effort, said.
The island remains without electricity and less than half of Puerto Rico’s residents currently have access to access to clean water. The new systems will help aid communications and provide critical power. The efforts are being coordinated on the ground by San Juan fire chief Alberto Cruz and Las Vegas fire captain Richard Birt.
Other companies are also coming together to install solar power and energy systems in Puerto Rico to aid in recovery efforts. Among other companies deploying solar are Tesla, sonnen and Sunnova Solar.
"It appears the federal emergency response is focused on diesel to repower the island," said Marco Krapels, co-founder of Empowered by Light, who spearheaded the effort. "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."
"Our hearts go out to the millions affected by recent hurricanes, and we're grateful for the opportunity to provide quick relief in Puerto Rico," said Lynn Jurich, co-founder and CEO of Sunrun. "Unfortunately, extreme weather events will continue to impact the communities where we live. In the wake of recovery, it's critical to rebuild smarter with resilient, distributed power like rooftop solar and storage."
The first system that deployed is a 4 kilowatt (kW) solar array with energy storage installed yesterday at the Barrio Obrero fire station in San Juan. The organizations are installing the second microgrid today at another fire station, water desalination and purification systems will be installed over the next several days as well. The relief efforts also will include installing three solar-powered water desalination systems, five innovative water production systems and three portable solar-powered units that will be installed in remote communities on the island.Tweet