The rest of the U.S. citizenry appears to have forgotten about Puerto Rico and the suffering of its people (also U.S. citizens) – but some in the solar industry remain laser-focused on trying to restore power to more than 400,000 people five months after hurricanes knocked out power to the entire island.
One of those companies is battery integrator sonnen. Their most recent project is a solar+storage microgrid at S.U. Matrullas, a K-9 school in Orocovis that serves more than 150 students.
sonnen didn’t work alone – they partnered with their local energy partner Pura Energía to provide the microgrid to the school, located deep in the island’s mountains.
“We have witnessed first-hand not only a collaborative humanitarian effort that has aided critical recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, but one that has fostered forward-thinking strategies leveraging an integrated renewable energy capable of providing power to a large group of people,” said Adam Gentner, sonnen’s Director of Business Development, Latin American Expansion.
“These microgrids effectively form the blueprint for more than just recovery, but for preparation for islands and regions around the world that are susceptible to natural disasters and power outages. As sonnen continues its global expansion, we will maintain our focus on bringing clean and affordable energy to all,” Genter added.
In part because of its remoteness, the school was still without power before sonnen provided two smart energy storage systems, an eco 8 (4kW/8kWh) and eco 14 (8kW/14kWh), to be paired with a 15kW rooftop solar system provided by Pura Energía.
The microgrid will provide enough energy to keep the school open without relying on a noisy, gas fueled generator.
S.U. Matrullas plans to continue using the microgrid even if the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) restores power to the area. In the past, PREPA has suffered corruption and instability, and they have struggled for the past five months to return electricity to its customers. Lack of attention from the mainland government has also contributed to the island’s struggles.
S.U. Matrullas represents the ninth and tenth microgrid systems that sonnen and Pura Energía have installed on the island since Hurricane Maria struck in September. Other microgrids have included community and relief centers, washing machines and laundromats, food distribution centers and a school for behaviorally challenged children in Aguadilla.