LOS ANGELES, July 31, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The del Sol Foundation for Energy Security, a non-profit organization founded by members of sonnen, Inc. to oversee the implementation of humanitarian microgrids for relief following Hurricane Maria, today highlighted its success in rebuilding remote communities in Puerto Rico while demonstrating the capabilities of energy independence on a larger scale.
In the days following Hurricane Maria and the devastation it wreaked on multiple islands and nations in the Caribbean, sonnen, the global market leader in intelligent residential energy storage, partnered with forward-thinking solar energy company Pura Energia, and sprang into action, implementing the first of what would become 12 microgrids throughout the island, ultimately impacting over 4,000 people per day. The initial success of the first microgrid, made possible by a faith-based community that came together to power a church in Loiza to be used as a community center, was reflective of Puerto Rico's resilience and the collaborative efforts to come.
After experiencing an initial effort and result both humbling and inspiring, members of the U.S. sonnen leadership team formed the del Sol Foundation for Energy Security. An independently managed 501(c)(3), del Sol possesses a clear vision of providing "a hand up, not a handout" to Puerto Rican communities ravaged by storms and in desperate need of power. By working closely with community leaders and government officials, del Sol empowered citizens to not only address their daily challenges, but to prepare for future ones. This vision was evident at several sites where locals came together to physically expand the microgrids' design to power additional applications that demand energy consumption, further inspiring those around them.
Beyond power generation, the microgrids have become venues for community organization, education, commerce, and other day-to-day aspects for each respective region. The technological capabilities enabled citizens to become agents of change, fostering collaboration among some of the most disadvantaged communities in the United States at a time they needed support the most. This successful intersection of innovation and human emotion demonstrates that renewable energy can represent more than just day-to-day functionality, but is truly a source of inspiration that creates lasting impact.
"While the del Sol Foundation was initially formed to provide physical support to Puerto Ricans in need in the form of microgrids, the greater effect was that of community empowerment and lifting one another to create lasting impact and community growth," said Blake Richetta, President at del Sol Foundation. "I have been absolutely amazed by the incredible resolve and fortitude of the Puerto Rican people who reside in these poor disadvantaged and often forgotten communities of the United States. Our microgrids were a mere vehicle while the people of this island, who blew me away with their strength and courage, were the true agents of change."
Notable microgrids sponsored by the del Sol Foundation for Energy Security include:
A healthcare clinic in the Mameyes Abajo neighborhood of Utuado that provides services to 9,000 low-income people that is now completely off-grid. This facility has literally saved lives and would have been unable to do so without the power produced and stored by the renewable microgrid.
A building formerly used as a school in the Bartolo neighborhood of Lares, a remote part of Puerto Rico, that was converted into a housing facility for 14 families displaced by Hurricane Maria and forced to live as refugees. Powered by their microgrid, the converted housing facility has expanded into a community center and beacon of hope for its inhabitants, now including a kitchen /café, art classes, psychological counseling and even a farm to produce food for consumption.
A food shelter in Humacao that lacked the capabilities for simple functions, such as refrigeration of food and generation of clean water. The facility has now expanded beyond the original kitchen to become a large community center that provides art, counseling and a sense of community empowerment to the local people whose lives are still deeply affected by the aftermath of the hurricane.
S.U. Martrullas, a K-8 school in Orocovis, a remote part of Puerto Rico, was entirely without power following the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria. Now powered by a solar + storage microgrid, the school and its surrounding community are thriving as students have access to fresh food and clean water, as well as school computers powered entirely by renewable energy. Further, S.U. Martrullas plans to remain independent of the grid, even if PREPA service returns to the area.
"The impact of the del Sol microgrid has been very important for the community, students and people who work at our school," said Albert Melendez Castillo, Director at the S.U. Matrullas school in Orocovis. "It has been very moving to see the students drink clean water, eat fresh food, and work on computers powered by renewable energy."
"The reality is that without the support of del Sol, our project never would have been able to offer services," said Francisco Valentin Soto, OTOAO Community organizer at the Primary Healthcare Clinic in Utuado. "Thanks to sonnen, we have already saved four lives and provided medical services to 9,000 low-income people from eight isolated communities that have been forgotten by the government. del Sol has given us the opportunity to bring hope to these communities affected by the worst natural disaster in our history."
"The del Sol Foundation's work in Puerto Rico embodies our 'hand up, not handout' mentality of leading through innovation and community organization," said Adam Genter, Director of Operations for del Sol Foundation. "The citizens living on this island require and deserve the same support during crisis that we have here on the mainland, and the del Sol Foundation is honored to be one of the groups empowering communities to achieve a return to normalcy. Our microgrids have instilled hope among local citizens, community leaders and politicians, inspiring Puerto Ricans to rebuild for the future. The entire del Sol team believes Puerto Rico's recovery from Hurricane Maria will one day be looked back upon as an early example of community and energy resilience not only for the island, but for the rest of the world."
The del Sol Foundation for Energy Security will continue installing and managing solar microgrids in regions where they are needed throughout Puerto Rico and beyond, empowering communities to rebuild and prepare themselves for a more resilient future. In the near future, del Sol anticipates launching the 'Lighthouse Project,' the most ambitious and proactive energy security project to date in Puerto Rico. 'The Lighthouse' will be designed to facilitate life saving services across the island, by way of providing power to microgrids, to over 250,000 people per day in the event of a hurricane." del Sol's 'Lighthouse Project,' made possible by a grassroots campaign driven by the faith-based community of Puerto Rico, seeks to create an energy security shield for residents of the island, fortifying it against future storms. To learn more about or to donate to del Sol's signature Lighthouse Project, please visit www.delsolfoundation.org.
About del Sol Foundation for Energy Security. The del Sol Foundation for Energy Security is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2017. The Foundation is an independent entity whose mission is to provide aid to individuals and entire communities in need, including those impacted by energy instability, who would benefit from clean, reliable and affordable energy. The Foundation's work in Puerto Rico serves as an example of success in effectively engaging and empowering local community leaders, local citizens and local businesses with "a hand up, not a handout" and producing true resiliency in the face of natural disasters. http://www.delsolfoundation.org/.