Puerto Rico’s electric grid was wiped out by Hurricane Maria and widespread power isn’t expected to be available on the island for at least six months. But solar power and energy storage systems are coming to the rescue as companies like Tesla, sonnen and Sunnova are sending systems to the US territory to help in bringing power back to the people in its islands.
Solar power—particularly combined with energy storage—is an ideal source of power in recovery efforts since it’s quick to set up and doesn’t need an additional energy source, like a diesel generator. It’s also critical to helping emergency shelters and medical providers offer critical services to victims of disasters like hurricanes.
Sunnova said it is the largest residential solar installer in Puerto Rico. “Solar and batteries will be a necessity for short-term needs and long-term energy planning. The grid in Puerto Rico needs to be rebuilt to become more resilient, and that includes one with distributed solar and batteries,” said Sunnova CEO John Berger.
“Sunnova is working directly with Governor Rosselló’s team and the Trump administration to assist in the recovery and restoration of power to residents facing prolonged electricity outages,” Berger said. “Prior to the storm, Sunnova had just under 10,000 systems installed. Right now, we are working to get those systems back on line and to provide our customers with battery storage to provide critical electricity services while the work to restore and rebuild the grid commences.”
sonnen is sending its energy storage systems to the island and plans on sending full microgrids to be installed by Pura Energia, which will integrate them with solar power and subsidize the cost of installation. "Clean and affordable energy for all is the mission of our company. It is what we believe in and it is what drives us every day," said Christoph Ostermann, founder and CEO of sonnen. "What is happening in Puerto Rico is a tragedy and as fellow human beings, it is our duty to stand firmly with the people of Puerto Rico and do everything possible to help start the rebuilding process. From my perspective, there is a clear connection between our mission to support humanity during a climate disaster and our mission to fight climate change."
sonnen is targeting emergency medical clinics that require power to refrigerate medicine and emergency shelters across the island. The company also is partnering with a water filtration company to complement their effort at each microgrid site.
The company already is shipping energy storage systems to the island. "Our plan is to ship a batch of our Eco Energy Storage Systems to Puerto Rico every week, while balancing the rest of our growing business in North America," said Brent Stayer, vice president of Operations & Quality Control for sonnen. "In fact, we started shipping specifically to support the disaster relief last week. Our biggest challenge at this point will be gaining access to the ports. We remain hopeful that, starting next week, it will become easier to deliver our product to the island.”
Tesla, according to Bloomberg, is sending hundreds of its Powerwall batteries to Puerto Rico. As of late September the company said it had already shipped its systems and that more are on the way. Other companies, like LuminAID, are also providing their devices to help in recovery efforts.Tweet