In the weeks after Hurricane Maria left Puerto Rico in ruins, solar and battery companies have come to provide aid to the battered island, including Tesla restoring power to a children’s hospital. However, yesterday these efforts just stepped up in a big way.
The Solar Foundation has announced that it is leading a solar hurricane relief effort for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands that brings together 20 solar companies and organizations, in partnership with some of the biggest names in philanthropy and aid.
Solar Saves Lives is bringing donations from 20 solar companies and organizations including Sunrun, BayWa r.e. Solar Systems and the SunSpec Alliance to the island to help restore power and provide clean water in critical areas. This effort is in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, Operation Blessing, Direct Relief and J/P HRO, along with installation partners in Puerto Rico.
The companies will be supplying portable solar equipment including lanterns and cell chargers, as well as larger gear such as solar refrigeration units, solar water purification units, and equipment for large-scale installations. In terms of concrete donations So-Light is contributing 10,000 solar lights, and Sunrun has also made a significant donation of solar equipment.
These donations will be sent to meet specific needs as determined by local officials and relief organizations. Solar Saves Lives has identified restoration of power in two food markets in San Juan as well as 62 rural medical clinics as high priorities.
The organization also says that it will coordinate transportation of solar equipment directly to affected areas, working with partners to work out the details shipping and distribution and ensure proper installation and service. This detail is critical, given that the difficulty of getting deliveries shipped in through the island’s damaged transportation infrastructure has proved a major challenge for aid to date.
Former President Bill Clinton has personally thanked the solar companies and relief organizations that are part of this effort. “The solar equipment donated through this effort will save lives by aiding recovery efforts, providing power for people in remote areas, and solarizing critically needed services like refrigeration and medical care,” said Clinton.
More information can be found on the SolarSavesLives.org website, which in addition to soliciting contributions from the solar industry is also accepting donations from the general public.