How photo voltaic panels are making Puerto Rico communities extra resilient » Yale Local weather Connections

(Photo credit: Resilient Power Puerto Rico Video)

When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, the island’s electricity grid was cut. Eleven months passed before the power supply was fully restored. In the meantime, some residents left with no lights or a way to cool food at home.

Alejandra Castrodad-Rodríguez is with the nonprofit Resilient Power Puerto Rico. She says recovery is often the longest in low-income communities.

That is why her group installed solar and battery systems in 35 community centers in endangered areas.

“Everything from schools and extracurricular daycare centers to cultural centers,” she says.

Now these centers no longer have to wait for the main power plant and transmission lines to be repaired after a storm. And they can help strengthen the recovering community.

For example, Castrodad-Rodríguez points to a farmer-run non-profit organization in the center of the island.

“In the event of a power outage, the center becomes a hub where community leaders can organize to provide food … or have energy to power medical equipment,” she says.

Switching to clean, distributed energy can help Puerto Rico prepare for extreme weather while eliminating inequalities.

Credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

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