Hurricane Maria produced the largest blackout in US history and left Puerto Rico without energy for almost a year. The power is mostly back, but it’s patchy and unreliable. The island needs to both ameliorate its energy grid and be prepared for another emergency that might threaten the existing power and communications sources.
How is Hispanic Federation Helping?
We’re supporting, through different partnerships, the creation of reliable and durable renewable energy sources for domestic and institutional use, including community centers and school that can serve as disaster relief hubs when future disasters hit.
Who are we helping?
Para La Naturaleza (Humacao and Ponce)
Para la Naturaleza knows the critical importance of powering and sustaining community centers that Puerto Ricans can turn to in a crisis.
With support from Hispanic Federation, Para La Naturaleza is outfitting two community centers with renewable energy and storage batteries.
Para la Naturaleza’s goal, in partnership with Resilient Power PR, is to power 100 community centers with renewable energy.
Instituto Nueva Escuela (Patillas, Barranquitas and Humacao)
The Instituto is an organization formed by several Montessori Educational Centers in various points of the island.
After Hurricane Maria, they are piloting innovative ways to ensure schools can continue to serve the community when disaster strikes.
To help achieve this mission, Hispanic Federation funded the Instituto’s purchase of three Off-the-Grid Boxes, mobile solar, and water filtration systems that can provide renewable energy sources and portable water to stricken communities.
The Instituto, linked to 49 schools serving 12,000 students, will transport these boxes wherever they are needed.
Casa Pueblo (Adjuntas)
Casa Pueblo is one of the oldest NGOs in Puerto Rico and has been promoting and using renewable energy to increase community self-sufficiency for almost four decades.
Hispanic Federation is proud to contribute to its visionary #50%conSOLcampaign, which aims for 50% island-wide renewable energy usage.
With the help of Hispanic Federation funding, Casa Pueblo will install local renewable energy hubs in 16 homes, and train residents to support neighbors with power if a blackout occurs.
Targeted homes will include families with members at high health risk without steady power, like EJEMPLO.
Solar Saves Lives Coalition (Island-wide)
The Solar Saves Lives Coalition is a partnership between Hispanic Federation, the Clinton Foundation and Direct Relief to fund the installation of renewable energy sources at Federally Qualified Health Centers.
These renewable energy sources will provide services to one in ten Puerto Ricans, mostly the uninsured and those that are most medically vulnerable without power.
The Solar Saves Lives Coalition is also boosting the island’s economy by having local companies tapped to perform the installation of the energy sources.
Solar Libre (Island-wide)
Hurricane Maria’s devastation revealed a weakened economy and a collapsed energy grid, but created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reinvent island-wide electrical production and distribution through renewable energy.
To this end, Hispanic Federation partnered with Resilient Power PR to ship more than 2,000 solar panels, and over 100,000 pounds of inverters, batteries, solar modules and charged controllers.
This equipment is bringing renewable energy and training in the maintenance of needed hardware to clinics, community centers, water wells, and hydroponic farms all across the island.
In the first year after Hurricane Maria, local volunteer brigades trained by experts from the Mainland US and Puerto Rico, installed solar panels and battery storage systems on 100 community resiliency hubs.
Solar Libre is bringing equipment for renewable energy, and training in the maintenance, to clinics, community centers, water wells, and hydroponic farms across the island. Their training also launched multiple independent brigades, which duplicated their impact across the island.
In year two, Solar Libre has launched a formal training program that will provide paid, one-year apprenticeships to university students, with priority to young women, to receive hands-on education in renewable energy. The first class of students will install solar panels + battery on 200+ community centers.
The goal is that upon completion from the apprenticeship, students will be qualified to compete for mid-level roles at local renewable energy companies where local talent is in high-demand.
Plaza del Mercado de Rio Piedras(San Juan)
The Mercado is the largest produce market in Puerto Rico, and houses services such as a medical clinic. It currently provides spaces for nearly 200 small business owners to operate shops and restaurants.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz identified the market as a renewable energy priority to ensure the continued operation of businesses, protect the livelihoods of vendors, and safeguard the market's historic and economic role in Río Piedras.
In coordination with the Municipality of San Juan, partners including the Clinton Foundation, The Solar Foundation, and Operation Blessing will install a renewable energy and battery storage system at the Mercado to make basic energy efficiency upgrades for the market and reduce overall energy consumption.
Central Park of San Juan (San Juan)
In September 2018, together with the Víctor Cruz Foundation, Hispanic Federation donated 125 renewable energy lampposts to the municipality of San Juan to be installed within Central Park in order to reopen to full operating hours.
The park¾a huge sporting and recreational complex in the metropolitan area¾is a space attended by thousands every year for recreation activities, exercise, and athletic competitions.
It had lost illumination after Hurricane Maria and, as a result, closed at 3:00pm every day making it inaccessible to a large part of the public.
Through this donation, the park will once again remain open into evening hours as a safe, public, green space for children and families to play and spend time together.