Bay Area-based non-profit Empowered by Light is leading an effort to deliver and install solar micro-grids, water desalination and purification systems, and water production systems to fire stations on the hurricane-ravaged island of Puerto Rico. In partnership with Sunrun—the nation’s largest dedicated residential solar, storage and energy services company, renewable energy focused non-profit Givepower, Zero Mass Water and several dedicated individuals, Empowered by Light organized the deployment in response to news reports stating that most of the island is still without power, and more than 50% of Puerto Rico is without clean water.
The effort, which was coordinated on the ground in partnership with San Juan fire chief Alberto Cruz and Las Vegas fire captain Richard Birt, includes the delivery and installation of solar-powered micro-grids at two fire stations on the island, as well as the deployment of three solar-powered water desalination systems, five innovative water production systems, and three portable solar-powered units to remote communities on the island.
The first solar system, a 4kW solar array with battery storage, was installed yesterday at the Barrio Obrero fire station in San Juan. The second installation is planned for today at another local fire station. The water desalination and purification systems will be deployed over the next several days.
“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.”
Empowered by Light advisor, actor and activist Mark Ruffalo, who supported the effort, commented, “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.”
Sunrun is the nation’s largest dedicated residential solar, storage and energy services company with a mission to create a planet run by the sun. Since establishing the solar as a service model in 2007, Sunrun leads the industry in providing clean energy to homeowners with little to no upfront cost and at a savings to traditional electricity. The company also offers Sunrun BrightBox solar power generation with smart inverter technology and home battery storage.
Givepower is a 501(C)3 non-profit focused on clean energy technologies that has provided clean energy access to communities around the world.