As Congress on Thursday approved a $5 billion loan that will further burden the already bankrupt U.S. territory, various solar companies and nonprofits continued working together to offer aid to the storm-ravaged island while also promoting a more sustainable future and resilient energy system.
On Thursday, the nonprofit Empowered By Light and Sunrun-the nation’s largest residential solar company-partnered with local leaders to install a 4kW solar array with battery storage at the Barrio Obrero fire station in San Juan.
The Solar Energy Industries Association, a national solar industry group, has also sent aid to the island in recent days, as has Light Up Puerto Rico, a group, led by two Puerto Ricans, that formed after the hurricane.
New Star Solar, a U.S. company, has partnered with Light Up Puerto Rico to send solar equipment to rural areas such as Aguas Buenas, Salinas, Naranjito, Aguadilla, Las Marias, and Mayaguez, CNBC reports.
“Everything is needed down there, but we are trying to help out in a unique way,” Brad Creer, president of New Star Solar, told CNBC. “We need to be talking about how we’re going to innovate, how this destruction gives us now a platform to not just rebuild, but to transform Puerto Rico.”.
“The Tesla team has done this for many smaller islands around the world, but there is no scalability limit, so it can be done for Puerto Rico too,” Musk tweeted, adding that the decision to transition the island to a renewable system “Would be in the hands of” local government.
On Monday, Rosselló told MSNBC that the destruction is an opportunity to rebuild Puerto Rico smarter and “Transform” the island.