Shortly after Hurricane Maria struck, John Siciliani of the South Brooklyn Solar Coalition and former Executive Director of NYSEIA posted an urgent request for equipment on the NYC Solar Installer Roundtable: Did anyone have any modules, controllers, inverters, batteries, etc. they could spare?
Walter Meyer, who had formed Power Rockaway Resilience after Hurricane Sandy, had just launched Resilient Power Puerto Rico with the assistance of the Coastal Marine Resource Center, and John offered to help gather equipment. NYC solar installers immediately responded with enthusiasm. Truckloads of equipment soon began arriving at a donated space in a warehouse; other installers simply donated cash.
So far, more than 15 NYC installation companies have donated more than 110 kW of solar generating capacity and many useable system components -- enough to power 80 small homes and five medical services units. In addition, five installers signed up to make the trip to Puerto Rico and assist on the ground. Five systems have been installed thus far, but challenges remain (such as getting the equipment to the island). Siciliani stresses that this story has only just begun, noting that Walter Meyer’s vision for Resilient Power Puerto Rico is to first get the power to rural and hard-to-reach communities where it is needed most. Their goal is to deliver 100 mobile solar-electric kits by the end of 2017, and have the solar technicians installing them train local residents in an “each one, teach one" style job training effort. This will result in not only providing power, but in helping develop an island-wide workforce capable of growing with the green economy. Find out how to donate time, money or equipment at Resilient Power Puerto Rico