In the wake of the destruction of the power grid caused by Hurricane Maria, communities across Puerto Rico lost access to reliable power - propelling them into darkness.
The Puerto Rico Energy Security Initiative was created and implemented by the del Sol Foundation for Energy Security and Pura Energia with a focus on creating "energy oasis" community micro-grids in partnership with local organizations throughout Puerto Rico.
Since 2017, our "energy oasis" sites have provided a safety net for 12 communities and over 4,000 residents by giving them by providing clean, reliable, and resilient energy to those who need it most.
Help Me! Center - aguadilla, puerto rico
With a sonnen micro-grid installed 3 days after Hurricane Maria, The Help Me! Center in Aquadilla provides educational and psychiatric services for children with behavioral disabilities who cannot attend traditional schools. The school provided additional psychiatric services for the students to help them deal with the aftermath of the hurricane.
The sonnen is providing power for lights, refrigeration, and fans for ventilation. The refrigerator allows the families to bring homemade lunch for the students. This reduced the cost of school for the families, many of whom were left without work after the hurricane.
refugee center, Mariana Bracetti school - Maricao, Puerto Rico
The Mariana Bracetti school in Maricao has been repurposed as a refugee center for the people of Las Marias and Maricao who lost their homes to Hurricane Maria. The Refugee Center provides housing for 12 families and serves as a community center, providing communication and refrigeration services for Maricao residents.
Two sonnen micro-grids are powering lighting, refrigeration, and “information oases” consisting of computers and cellular routers and will serve as an off-grid center for community building, and as an independent power source in the face of future hurricanes. Once the sonnen systems are no longer needed for the refugee center, the school will be fully repurposed as a community center creating a community space for building and improving the lives of residents, really serving as a ”hand up” rather than a “hand out”.
loma del la nina mariana community center - humacao, Puerto rico
Humacao was the city hit the hardest by Hurricane Maria and the devastation has left the community powerless for over 6 months. The Loma de la Niña Mariana community center has become a relief site that provides community access to food, clean water and community services after the storm. It now provides food, water, and internet to 200-500 people per day.
The sonnen micro-grid uses solar + storage to provide power for lights, internet, computers, and refrigeration. The site also features a water filtration system for the remote community.
refugee center - Lares, Puerto Rico
Lares is a remote location high in the mountains, approximately 3 hour away from San Juan. It is inhabited by farmers who’s families have lived in this area for generations. Property ownership is traditionally transferred through handshake agreements, so most residents do not have titles to their land and do not qualify for FEMA aid. Faced with the dire situation of homelessness and unemployment, local people have converted a shuttered school building into apartments and a community center.
The sonnen micro-grid powers the apartments, and a community kitchen. It also will serve as the foundation for future community and economic development, including a solar powered internet cafe and cooking school.
primary healthcare clinic - utuado, puerto rico
Utuado is a remote and mountainous region in the center of Puerto Rico. It is at least 1 hour by car from the nearest hospital, and is still without power or running water since Hurricane Maria.
This agrarian community is mostly inhabited by coffee and plantain farmers and has been largely unserved by local governments. Most aid comes in the form of FEMA water and food distribution multiple times per week. A local community group - OTOAO – reclaimed an unused coffee storehouse that has been taken over as a drug house.
With the support of ex-Surgeon General Antonia Coello Novello, Pura Energia, and sonnen, they opened a healthcare clinic, powered by a solar + storage micro-grid. Having reliable power has enabled the clinic to already save four lives and provide medical services to 9,000 low income people from 8 isolated communities that have been forgotten by the government.
community Lavendaria - Loíza, Puerto rico
Loíza is a historically marginalized community of 30,000 people to the East of San Juan. The town was without power and running water for months after the hurricane. Without running water, the residents turned to the river to wash their clothes. Because of damage to the water filtration infrastructure and lack of power, waste water flowed directly into the river, exposing the people to Leptospirosis.
sonnen worked with a local organization – Por Los Nuestros – to install and power 10 washing machines at a local church. The sonnen system allowed the church to offer a basic service to local residents, preventing illness and creating a community center for relief.
community lavanderia - la perla, puerto rico
La Perla is a small community below the bluffs from Old San Juan. Due to its location outside the walls of the fort, it has been a marginalized community since the days of Spanish occupation.
The sonnen micro-grid provides power for 5 washing machines to allow residents to avoid washing their clothes in contaminated water thus preventing severe illness. The Lavandería has become a gathering place for residents, a place to go if you need to find someone or to pass time.
community lavendaria - morocovis, Puerto rico
Morovis is an isolated community in the mountains in the center of the island. It was hit hard by Hurricane Maria and the power grid was devastated with many residents still without power. After the hurricane, the residents of Morovis were faced with the same exposure to unfiltered water as the residents of Loíza. Leptospirosis spreads to humans through direct exposure to animal waste. When untreated, the disease can cause kidney failure and death.
The sonnen micro-grid was established to power 5 washing machines at the city sports complex. The location was chosen because it is centrally located and FEMA used this location to distribute water.
S.U. Matrullas School - Orocovis, puerto rico
The S.U. Matrullas school is located in a very remote mountain region. The school's Director hopes to make this the first agricultural trade school on the island. With a water filtration system, this will become the first completely off-grid school in Puerto Rico.
The sonnen powers the school lights, computers, and kitchen. The students eat 2 meals a day at the school and the refrigeration allows the school to serve them fresh meals as opposed to canned goods. The techAll of the technology lessons are also fully powered by solar energy. The school does not plan to reconnect with the power company, PREPA, even once grid service is returned, as the sonnen micro-grid is more reliable and cost effective for powering the school.