This Brooklyn Architect wants to rewire Puerto Rico Solar

Apr 16, 2018

THE SIXTH-MONTH ANNIVERSARY of Hurricane Maria’s grinding-up of Puerto Rico brought what might feel like good news. According to AEE, the Electrical Energy Authority, almost 93 percent of Puerto Ricans—1,365,065 people—now have power. The process has been agonizing—a misguided early repair contract to the unlikely Whitefish Energy for $300 million got cancelled, and it took months for crews from better-suited firms to get started. Financial problems, logistical difficulties, and a weird reluctance on the part of the federal government to make Puerto Rico a priority all extended the timeline.

The work is far from over. Thousands of people are still without water and power, and suffering—especially in rural areas—goes on. But in the midst of that tumult and travail, some technologists see opportunities for innovation. Puerto Rico’s energy infrastructure was falling apart even before the hurricane. So lots of folks are advocating solar power systems as a jump into the future. Earlier this month, the design-driven nonprofit Resilient Power Puerto Rico announced it would receive grants of $625,000, with which the group plans to construct 25 of a planned 100 small, commercial-scale solar arrays—with an eye toward revamping pieces of the island’s grid.

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Photo by: Monica Felix