This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Within two weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, Richard Birt, a Las Vegas fire captain, flew to San Juan on what would be the first of many missions to try to get the island’s 96 fire stations up and running — not by fixing the problematical grid but by using solar power. With the encouragement of San Juan fire chief Alberto Cruz Albarrán, logistical help from San Juan firefighters, and donated equipment from the company Sunrun, within a day-and-a-half a team outfitted the flat roofs of the fire department in Barrio Obrero — one of the poorer neighborhoods in San Juan — with solar panels. The panels and connected battery meant the station could be taken off the downed grid to run the most critical equipment including its 24-hour watch office that fielded calls, and its radio, lights, and doors. Dear reader, like what you see here? Keep Grist’s green journalism humming along by supporting us with a donation today. All donations made between now and September 29 will be matched dollar-for-dollar. “When we got there the generator was […]

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