Solar Microgrids Could Be The Solution For Energy Troubles In Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rican solar microgrids Could Be The Solution For Energy Troubles In Puerto Rico.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Puerto Rican solar microgrids could be the solution for energy troubles In Puerto Rico. Source: Unsplash

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Are Puerto Rican Solar Microgrids the Solution for Local Energy Troubles?

In Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, the community is pushing for a Puerto Rican solar microgrid energy system that could be the model needed to show that decentralized energy is as effective, if not more so, than centralized energy systems. 

What has pushed the people to this?

Climate change has widespread and varying effects on people, places, and ecosystems worldwide. One of these effects is the increased frequency and intensity of storms and hurricanes. 

No group of people understands this more than the citizens of Puerto Rico, who have been subjected to repeated and devastating hurricanes leaving many without power. 

The US federal government has been consistently slow and underwhelming in its efforts to help those affected, and as such, many on the island are turning to other potential options to help themselves. 

One group in Adjuntas, a small mountain town, is Casa Pueblo, advocating for renewable energy by using Puerto Rican solar microgrids. 

Puerto Rican solar microgrid small energy networks could potentially be what the people need to support themselves and decrease reliance on fossil fuels, which by and large are responsible for the climate change that has brought increasing frequency and severity of hurricanes. 

How does it work?

After Hurricane Maria in 2017, people in puerto rico began to see the necessity of being self-reliant in regard to energy. In Adjuntas, the only place people could go to get food was the pizza shop in the central plaza. 

This shop ran on diesel generators, which are loud, noisy, and quite unsustainable for long-term energy consumption. Now, six years later, Lucy’s Pizza is poised to run entirely on a Puerto Rican solar microgrid as part of a network of 14 businesses contributing to a solar microgrid. 

A solar microgrid generates electricity through solar panels near where the energy is used. These energy networks help each other in good times and can contribute to the larger energy grid. Still, when hard times strike, like when a hurricane lands, they can go into “island mode,” disconnecting from the centralized grid and running on their own power. 

This is incredibly important as infrastructural damage is quite common when a natural disaster such as a hurricane occurs. After Hurricane Maria, 80% of Puerto Rico’s power grid was damaged, and even after six years and $14 billion in federal commitments, Puerto Rico’s grid is still in disrepair. Yet Puerto Rican solar microgrids could have been restored and provided power immediately.

Puerto Ricans have to contend with regular outages and pay 8% of their annual income on energy, compared with 2.4% in the rest of the country. According to solar energy advocates, the solution is obvious. According to Department of Energy studies, Queremos Sol (We Want Sun) says that rooftop solar could provide four times the island’s residential energy demand. 

See also: Solar Company to Build Puerto Rico’s First Virtual Solar Power Plant.

The model needed for other countries.

Reducing the reliance on fossil fuels worldwide is something that many places are seeing as not only a profitable option but a necessary measure in a world where centralized grid systems have been failing time and time again. Puerto Rican solar microgrids can show other regions how to do it.

With the successful application of Puerto Rican solar microgrids, other countries and other towns in Puerto Rico will see that these systems simply work. With this model, other places will be able to implement their own solar microgrids, reducing costs for energy and increasing the well-being and livelihoods of the people close to them. 

It’s one thing to have to suffer the effects of climate change, but being forced to pay your income to the ones directly responsible for climate change adds insult to injury. With the model that Puerto Rico can show, we will see a similar trend in other places, hopefully worldwide. 

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