Puerto Rican Solar Project Receives Donation of Solar Panels
The donation of more than 220 solar panels – an array capable of providing 46 kW – was recently given to a solar enery project in Puerto Rico by Green Street Power Partners in Massachusetts. The donation of the panels was facilitated by Bill Laberge of Grassroots Solar, whose project has been working to bring power to homeowners in Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria in September 2017. Parts of the country continue to be without power, and many more areas are without reliable power due to the antiquated and weakened electrical grid. Ricardo Diaz Soto, who is helping to coordinate the project in Barrio San Salvador, said, “This [donation] comes at a great time, as this week the community finished the collection of data for 250 homes. The data includes GPS coordinates, electric consumption, roof size and configuration, etc. We agreed on designing a pilot nanogrid in San Salvador with the panels and to install some on community sites.” Barrio San Salvador in the town of Caguas, Puerto Rico, is where Grassroots Solar started the Ponte Pilas Project. ‘Ponte pilas’ is a Puerto Rican expression roughly meaning ‘pick yourself up and move forward.’ Literally, the expression translates to ‘put on your batteries,’ which seemed especially apt for this project. Originally, the goal was to bring power to 100 homes. The community took over the project and expanded it, hiring an engineer, using high school students to collect data, and designing a system of solar panels and batteries to power the whole community. They now have 250 homes signed up and expect it to get to 450 homes, and see it as a pilot for other communities. The Barrio San Salvador community has set up a nonprofit organization, Comunidad Organizada de San Salvador, for this unique project which will become a grid owned by the community, not interconnected by old style grid, poles and wires. Grassroots Solar looks forward to helping the community install their new solar power grid, and working with other areas of Puerto Rico to give residents energy independence. For details visit grassrootssolar.com.