Some ten new renewable energy microgrids have been developed in schools in Puerto Rico to reduce power outages which the US territory has been experiencing since 2018 Hurricanes damaged grid infrastructure.
The microgrids have been installed by Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), Save the Children and Kinesis Foundation.
Save the Children focused on helping schools and their communities become more resilient in the event of future natural disasters, RMI managed the solar microgrid system installation and Kinesis Foundation provided financial support for the project.
The microgrids comprise battery energy storage and solar energy generation systems to power school libraries, administrative offices, kitchens and critical water pumps indefinitely in the event of an outage. Additionally, the project provided roof waterproofing, energy efficiency retrofits such as LED lighting, and curriculum support for teachers to incorporate climate change and renewable energy into their classrooms.
The schools will leverage the microgrids to withstand future weather events and grid outages to continue providing education to their students.
The schools equipped with the microgrids were without power for six months after the hurricanes. Four hundred faculty members and 3,600 students were impacted by this project and now have access to clean, resilient power if future severe weather events or grid outages occur.
“We are pleased the schools’ microgrid programme will ensure students and faculty members now have access to a resilient learning environment. We hope this project will inspire and encourage other schools and critical facilities to explore solar microgrids as a pathway to building local energy resilience,” said Roy Torbert, RMI’s Puerto Rico programme leader.