In September 2017, the category 5 Hurricane Maria left an estimated 95% of Puerto Rico without power or cell service, and more than half of the population without access to clean drinking water. Three months later, 45% of the population—more than 1.5 million individuals—was still without electrical service.
A diverse assemblage of governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and private businesses are assisting Puerto Rico in its inspired rebuilding effort. Team members from another island community, Hawaii-based energy storage developer Blue Planet Energy, have been actively involved in Puerto Rico’s hands-on rebuilding effort. To facilitate the deployment of its Blue Ion battery technology to projects throughout Puerto Rico, Blue Planet Energy built strategic partnerships with global NGOs, including the American Red Cross. “NGOs like the American Red Cross have been the heart and soul of this rebuilding effort. They are financing projects, distributing aid, and pushing Puerto Rico’s economy and community resilience forward,” said Blue Planet Energy’s Gabriel Perez, a life-long resident of Puerto Rico that experienced Hurricane Maria firsthand.
Developed to serve as community shelters during extreme weather events, Blue Planet Energy and the American Red Cross have equipped more than 100 schools across Puerto Rico with battery systems charged by solar energy. Spread across 83 municipalities, Solar Schools Project sites were selected and designated as emergency shelters by the Puerto Rican Housing Authority. Shelters play a crucial role for communities in times of emergency. In addition to providing food and shelter to community members impacted by natural disasters, they serve as a mission control center for NGOs to strategize disaster relief efforts, gather supplies, and communicate recovery plans. Innovative initiatives such as the Solar Schools Project provide a roadmap to resiliency for other communities in the U.S. and beyond to follow.
“Our strategic partnerships in Puerto Rico are fundamental to our efforts of building more resilient communities, training energy professionals, and amplifying the impact of our collective experience.”—Gregg Murphy, Blue Planet Energy
PROJECT: Solar Schools
LOCATION: Puerto Rico / 114 Sites
APPLICATION: Commercial Microgrid
PROJECT CAPACITY: 11 MWh Blue Ion Energy Storage with 5.7 MW Solar PV