As Puerto Rico braces for another hurricane season, more of the island’s fire stations are getting solar micro-grids with help from the nonprofit Empowered by Light

Solar and energy storage systems will boost reliability and resiliency, while reducing energy costs

As hurricane season approaches, the nonprofit Empowered by Light (EBL) just finished installing solar energy and energy storage systems at three more fire stations on the island. The Tesla Powerwall will serve as the energy storage technology for the new systems. Two more stations are scheduled for completion in the next few weeks, which will bring to eight the total number of solar installations Empowered by Light has helped install on Puerto Rican fire stations.

“As extreme storms are expected to become more frequent and more severe due to climate change, Empowered by Light is committed to helping Puerto Rico switch to cleaner, more reliable sources of power such as solar and energy storage,” said Moira Hanes, executive director and co-founder of EBL. “These technologies are key to boosting energy security and resiliency, and reducing energy costs.”

“We’re making fire stations our first priority because the fire fighters play a critical role in keeping Puerto Ricans safe during emergency situations, including hurricanes,” said EBL Co-founder Marco Krapels.

The three new solar and energy storage systems will be installed at fire stations in the communities of Lares, Angeles and San Sebastian. They will connect to the grid, so any excess electricity they generate can be fed back onto the grid to help improve grid stability if necessary. The systems were designed and are being installed by local engineers and solar installers.

Empowered by Light’s efforts in Puerto Rico have been coordinated with the help of San Juan Fire Chief Alberto Cruz Albarran and Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Captain Richard Birt in response to the devastation caused when Hurricane Maria struck the island last September. At least 13,870 Puerto Ricans are still without power.

“When the national grid went down last month after an accident, the solar energy system Empowered by Light helped install meant critical infrastructure at the fire stations stayed on when the rest of the island went dark,” said Fire Chief Cruz, who recently announced on national news his hope for all of Puerto Rico's fire stations to be powered with solar energy and battery storage systems. Click here for full article.

These systems were made possible, in part, with the support of The Kresge Foundation, The Wallace Global Fund, The Electric Planet Foundation, and the Aireko Foundation, as well as many individuals.

Empowered by Light also plans to install solar and energy storage on the island’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), from which all disaster response is coordinated for fire, police and coast guard. Earlier this month, Empowered by Light held a fundraiser in New York City with actress Scarlett Johansson and Chef Bobby Flay that raised more than $150,000 for the EOC project. Donations for this effort can be made here: https://www.empoweredbylight.org/take-action/

See below for photos of Empowered by Light’s fundraiser and recent solar installations in Puerto Rico. (Photo credit for the installation images: Laura T Magruder; photo credit for the fundraiser images: Mark Barboni).

Empowered by Light is a 501©3 non-profit focused on empowering communities using renewable energy technologies. The organization has developed solar projects in seven countries, helping school-age children study better and longer, and powering conservation centers, ranger stations and indigenous communities in ecologically sensitive areas of the world. For more information about Empowered by Light, visit https://www.empoweredbylight.org/

For further information, please contact:
Moira Hanes
Empowered by Light
+1 415-488-7031
moira@empoweredbylight.org