Under a clear, dusky sky, a small group of children sat down in plastic chairs while older members of the community stood behind, all facing dimly projected image in an improvised outdoor theater. We were in the center of the Playita community in San Juan, next to a small church building. A modest 1.5KW solar energy system provided electricity and lighting to the community through several public outlets and fixtures. As the video started rolling, the children excitedly pointed out each time a face they recognized appeared on the screen. Out of small portable speakers, the voice of community leaders, neighbors, and volunteers streamed with a first-hand recount of the destruction by hurricane María and the severe flooding that followed. A resident standing next to me, took out his phone and invited me to lean in and look over the photos he took of the flooding in same street we were in.
It was June 1st, the beginning of the hurricane season, and there was no better way to acknowledge this than remembering what we went through and taking the first steps in a new direction for a stronger, more resilient community.
The Playita solar energy and lighting systems was made possible thanks to the sponsorship of the Rockefeller Foundation and 100 Resilient Cities.
Written by: Joshua Hoyos
Resilient Power Puerto Rico raises money from private donors and organizations to buy discounted and overstocked solar panels and install them at community centers at no cost to the local entities. There are currently 50 planned projects throughout the island.
Daguao’s community organization attained its solar panels thanks to Resilient Power Puerto Rico.
Nonprofit organizations Resilient Power Puerto Rico and Para la Naturaleza have joined forces to help expedite recovery efforts in communities still struggling with the long-term impacts of hurricanes Irma and María in Puerto Rico.
The two organizations will collaborate to equip an initial 30 community centers with solar microgrids and rain catchment and filtration systems, they confirmed.
New solar energy systems have arrived to the south-eastern region of Puerto Rico. Founded by sugar cane workers, The Coquí community is located in the municipality of Salinas, have long sough to become energy-independent.
This side of the main island offers stunning ocean views and coastal landscapes, but also has the largest power production center in Puerto Rico. Formerly a major sugar cane production site, Salinas now hosts the Aguirre Thermoelectric generator next to the Jobos Bay, an ecologically sensitive estuary. Local community efforts have long acted as a counter-force, seeking ecologically-friendly alternatives to the social and economic development of the Jobos Bay area. One of these initiatives, IDEBAJO, serves as a facilitator among several nearby communities, promoting community participation in the growth and sustaintability of the local economy.
The photovoltaic installation at the Coqui community center is sponsored by the generosity of the Segarra-Boerman Foundation. http://www.fundacionsegarraboerman.org/
We broke ground in the south-east of Puerto Rico. Three community centers in Maunabo and Naguabo will receive solar power this month, thanks to our generous sponsors. Other similar installations in sites all over Puerto Rico are under way as well. As we approach the 6-month anniversary of hurricane Maria's landfall, followed by periods of shortages, numerous power outages & historical coastal waves, we celebrate these seemingly small victories that make the communities of Puerto Rico more and more resilient. Stay tuned for details!
Casa Pueblo is a community project that is committed to the conservation of natural, cultural and human resources. For some years now they have pushed for a shift towards renewable energy and now they are one of the first town to have a Solar Barbershop, a Solar Radio station, and soon a Solar movie theater.
Read more about their project through their website casapueblo.org
We installed our first set of solar generators at three of El Caño Martín Peña's community center, a region of San Juan where over 25,000 people reside. In this community, many residents lost their roofs due to Hurricane Maria and these energized community center served as important meeting points and strategic communication outlets for the re-organization the community. We continue to map out strategic points for the next wave of installations.
#GivingTuesday is a global day "fueled by the power of social media and collaboration". Following the steps of www.givingtuesday.org, RPPR is joining this charitable season focused on Puerto Rico's need of power after Hurricane Maria's passing over the island. Giving Tuesday for Puerto Rico is as well #UnDiaParaDarPR, a day where many organizations and non-profits like RPPR provide relief to the scenery left by the hurricane.
The power of giving is the power of enlightenment, of joy, of placing a smile on those in need. The case of Puerto Rico has been devastating and as of today 3 months have passed and still more than half of the island remains without power, a large percent without potable water and the holidays are here.
Darkness is upon Puerto Rico but with your donation, RPPR can provide resilient power with a strategic planning of locating solar panel grids in places unreachable by the Puerto Rican Electrical Power Authority and communities with extreme needs. To the date, we have installed 3 working sites and still growing! Your donation, which is tax-deductible, will contribute to reaching the goal of installing 100 sites or as many locations as possible.