One million households in Puerto Rico do not have electricity today. In the wake of monumental damage from Hurricane Maria, power to most inhabitants of the islands is not likely to be restored for many weeks or months.
The only short-term prospect for getting electricity to people who desperately require it for their most basic household needs now is by dispatching small 1- or 2-kilowatt solar generators, solar lanterns and solar chargers for cell phones.
Day-to-day power needs are not being addressed by various relief efforts underway, efforts that are understandably focused on getting diesel fuel to generators for hospitals and other public-service institutions and on meeting emergency needs for clean water, shelter, and food.
IEEFA has a special interest in Puerto Rico for its work over the past two years with Puerto Rican organizations that include El Puente and the Institute of Competitiveness and Sustainable Economics (ISCE).
IEEFA, El Puente, and ISCE began collaborating long before Maria on research and analysis around how to reform the island’s shockingly fragile and mismanaged power agency, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA).
While the horizon for adequate reform is long, the need for immediate relief is now. A network of organizations that include IEEFA are joining forces today to deliver household-size solar equipment to Puerto Ricans.
Initial deliveries will allow for a trial supply-and-distribution network be expanded over time, and much funding and participation is required.
Because El Puente and ICSE are strongly rooted in Puerto Rico, they are in a strong position—albeit in extremely difficult circumstances—to take delivery and distribution of household solar equipment. Suppliers for the first round of shipments have been identified, and ICSE is working directly with the respected Heart (Health Emergency Aid and Response Team 9/11) of New York City, which has established operations in San Juan.
You can help by donating here (check the box to designate your contribution to the Puerto Rico Emergency Solar Energy Fund), or by sending a check to:
El Puente Puerto Rico Emergency Solar Energy Fund
211 South 4th St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Puerto Rico’s need is now.
Sandy Buchanan is IEEFA’s executive director.
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