Solar-plus-Storage Makes Tangible Difference in Puerto Rico Recovery Efforts

With a reported 150,000 homes and businesses in Puerto Rico still waiting for electricity since it was lost six month ago during Hurricanes Irma and Maria, small successes with solar-plus-storage installations are making a big difference in ongoing recovery efforts.

Hawaii-based Blue Planet Energy yesterday said that it has completed installation of two ferrous phosphate battery systems for storage of solar power at sites that are central to recovery and electrification efforts in Puerto Rico.

Corozal Clean Water System

Blue Planet said it has deployed a 16-kWh battery at a well pumping system deployed in Corozal by international sustainable water solutions nonprofit Water Mission.

The company said that the battery is paired with a 7-kW solar PV system and provides off-grid power for the clean water pump station in Corozal’s remote Palos Blancos neighborhood, where some residents were previously forced to leave due to limited access to clean water and no access to reliable electricity. Blue Planet said that the battery system will extend the pump’s run time, support greater on-demand pumping service and provide supplemental charging for critical on-site communications components.

“Much of Puerto Rico still lacks access to clean drinking water and electricity,” Mark Baker, director of disaster response for Water Mission, said in a statement. “Our mission on the ground in Puerto Rico is to coordinate with the EPA and FEMA to install safe drinking water stations and solar-powered pumping systems to service those that need it most.”  

Isabela Volunteer Center

Blue Planet said it also deployed a 16-kWh battery at the Las Dunas volunteer center, which offers housing and support for humanitarian aid workers installing solar energy kits in areas of need around Puerto Rico. The battery allows the center to store excess solar energy generated during the day for use when the sun goes down.  

“The Blue Ion system’s off-grid support perfectly complements our disaster relief efforts to help communities restore power,” Walter Meyer-Rodriguez, CMRC project lead, said. “Partnering with Blue Planet Energy has helped to supply reliable power for our base operations, allowing us to meet our mission of deploying solar kits to areas hardest hit by Maria.”

Blue Planet said that the installation was completed through partnerships with the nonprofit Coastal Marine Resource Center (CMRC) and solar design and installation firm New Energy Consultants & Contracting.

CMRC plans to install more than 100 solar-plus-storage systems at community centers to boost recovery operations in the island’s most under-served regions.

Additional system components were provided by New Energy and Pennsylvania-based Warren Electric Cooperative.

Lead image credit: CC0 Creative Commons | Pixabay

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Jennifer Delony, analyst for TransmissionHub, started her career as a B2B news editor in the local and long-distance telecommunications industries in the '90s. Jennifer began covering renewable energy issues at the local level in 2005 and covered U.S. and Canadian utility-scale wind energy as editor of North American Windpower magazine from 2006-2009. She also provides analysis for the oil and natural gas sectors as editor of Oilman Magazine.

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