Let’s Help Our Fellow Americans in Puerto Rico Via Community Solar Gardens & Distributed Solar Power!
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
(Please click on red links & note magenta)
On this first day of the year, I’d like to remind you all that almost half of Puerto Rico’s 3.8 million Americans are still without power more than 100 days after Hurricane Maria hit the island, presenting the largest blackout in U.S. history. But with its bountiful sunlight and vulnerability to hurricanes and high energy cost, energy industry leaders now believe that solar energy, along with battery storage providing backup when the sun isn’t shining, would be the solution to such a huge blackout.
Lewis Milford, president of the nonprofit Clean Energy Group and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute said, “Federal and local officials, along with others, are beginning to see a different way to rebuild the grid that doesn’t rely exclusively on the old way of just having more central plant power lines and hoping for the best. For the first time there seems to be a serious look at some alternatives that include distributed solar and storage applications that can ride out and provide power during outages and storms.”
It was timely that I received a phone call last night from our solar friend Joy Hughes, the founder of the Solar Gardens Institute. Joy Hughes went to Puerto Rico to bring two emergency solar power kits to remote communities affected by Hurricane Maria, in partnership with Clean Energy Relief, Inc. Solar kits would provide refrigeration, water purification, device charging, and WiFi to affected communities during the holiday season. These solar kits would also power internet-connected classrooms to train community organizers, solar gardeners, to create a renewable, resilient energy future owned by the people. Solar Garden is like a community garden where subscribers would own a patch of solar panels in a shared solar array in subscribers’ community. The energy produced from these solar panels would be credited to subscribers’ or shareholders’ electric bill as if the panels were on their own roof. By subscribing to a solar garden, subscriber would save money and the environment. The Solar Gardener Training is a one-semester course that trains local leaders in solar gardens policy, project development, and community organizing.
Puerto Rico passed a solar gardens law , SB1666 to become Act 133-2016 in 2016. The law eases interconnection procedures for renewable energy projects up to 5 Megawatts and encourages community solar and microgrids. The bill’s statement of motives references the Commonwealth’s 50% reliance on oil for electricity generation, high electricity prices (around 20¢ / kWh), and vulnerability to oil price shocks. But the hurricanes struck before this law could be implemented. The Puerto Rico Power Commission is currently developing program rules. Joy Hughes contributed community solar best practices to this development and recently attended the Puerto Rico Power Resiliency Workshop at the Department of Energy in Washington, DC with representatives from the government, industry, and nonprofit sectors to identify ideas to bring about the resilient transformation of Puerto Rico’s energy infrastructure.
- Community Solar for Puerto Rico at gofundme.com
- Donating frequent flyer miles to help support Joy’s ([email protected]) and volunteers’ travel expenses
- Donating equipment (solar panels, inverters, and other system components where needed)
- Donating time (solar experts to design, maintain, and install equipment, videographers, video editors, translator, etc.)
- Become a partner (both nonprofit and for profit businesses can share expertise, sponsor a kit, or cross-promote)
- Sharing this post with others
- Make a tax-deductible contribution to energyrelief.org or Community Solar for Puerto Rico fundraising campaign
- Joy Hughes wants to note that: donations through Energy Relief are tax deductible, while donations through GoFundMe are not – but they get the money right away.
If you know of any one in Puerto Rico who is in need of assistance with solar loans, be sure to let him/her know about our Sunisthefuture Team at Kiva (a team of 83 members) that intends to spread sunshine throughout our planet earth. Any one who wants to participate as a lender or promoter for Sunisthefuture Team at Kiva may join by lending to various solar loans under Green category listed at Kiva. A borrower would have to go through Kiva’s field partners first. Procedure for Kiva may be obtained by checking out Sunisthefuture Team at Kiva.
Another place to obtain solar loans is through Mosaic.
During this New Year, let’s help our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico by spreading the Sunshine!
I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Elon Musk for having donated the solar panels for Puerto Ricans’ Children’s Hospital with solar power, reported below:
More about the community at www.WindermereSun.com
~Let’s Help One Another~
Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics: