We are sending solar technology to hurricane-devastated areas. Donate now.
In September 2017, Hurricanes Maria and Irma swept across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, devastating the lives of 3.5 million American citizens. Months later, the islands still remain in urgent need of a reliable and resilient electricity grid — especially as we prepare for the next hurricane season.
The American solar industry has a unique and immediate opportunity to help. Rapid deployment of solar and solar + storage technologies can provide reliable electricity for critical infrastructure, such as health centers and food markets that serve vulnerable populations. Solar can help address immediate, short-term needs while building a more resilient electricity grid for the future. Together, we can help.
Solar Saves Lives is an initiative led by The Solar Foundation to coordinate the delivery and installation of donated solar equipment to areas in need. We are proud to coordinate this initiative with our partners including the Clinton Foundation, Direct Relief, the Hispanic Federation, Operation Blessing International, and New Energy PR.
We are seeking product donations and monetary donations from solar companies, other businesses, nonprofit organizations, and the general public.
UPDATE: Making Health Centers Resilient Through Solar
In April 2018, we joined the Hispanic Federation, Clinton Foundation, Direct Relief, and New Energy PR with a commitment to install solar and storage systems at 12 primary care clinics in Puerto Rico this year! This is one of eight Commitments to Action announced by President Bill Clinton to aid the recovery in Puerto Rico.
Health clinics were hit hard by Hurricane Maria, with extended power outages causing losses of medicines and compromising clinics’ ability to provide care. Six months on, health centers – especially those in rural and remote areas – still struggle with unreliable access to power. To address immediate energy needs and build the long-term resilience of these facilities, the solar systems will cover the critical energy needs of each site, allowing them to restore services and ensure continuity of care into the future, regardless of their access to grid power. We identified the clinics in partnership with the Asociación de Salud Primaria de Puerto Rico, which oversees over 60 federally funded clinics on the island.
In March, we completed a solar and storage installation at the Migrant Health Center, one of several medical centers in remote areas that is in urgent need of reliable electricity. Located in Maricao, Puerto Rico, the Migrant Health Center is a nonprofit committed to providing medical services to everyone regardless of insurance or ability to pay. Thanks to Solar Saves Lives partners and generous contributions by New Energy, CAM Solar, Soltec, SunPower, and Variety Energy, as well as all the donors who participated in the crowdfunding efforts led by Justine Burt and GETCHARGEDUP, the health center received 18 kW of solar power and 20 kWh of batteries.
With this installation, the only clinic in this remote region is now energy independent and more resilient. This installation will be followed by solar + storage installs on other high-priority clinics, starting with a larger hospital in Castañer.
Solar Saves Lives is a collaborative effort including the Clinton Foundation, Direct Relief, Hispanic Federation, Operation Blessing International, and New Energy PR.
Partner Highlight: New Energy PR
New Energy PR started in 2008 as a small residential solar installer. In 2014, it secured its first residential and commercial Power Purchase Agreements with several U.S.-based companies. Since then, the company has earned its place as a top installation company in Puerto Rico. The company has led volunteer efforts to install donated systems to critical facilities after the hurricane.
The biggest change after the hurricane, Uriarte noted, was a new interest in storage systems. “Before the hurricane, we installed 20 Tesla Powerwall batteries. Since the hurricane, we’ve already installed over 300.” After the hurricane, Uriarte said, “People don’t have to be sold on solar anymore. They are convinced that solar is the way to go. The challenge will be making it more financially accessible.”
Items we are seeking most urgently include:
- Portable solar equipment, such as lanterns and cell chargers.
- Containerized or cabinetized generators, such as solar refrigeration units, solar pumping units, and solar water purification units.
- Components for system installations including modules, inverters, battery banks, and charge controllers.
- Any other solar and storage equipment you are able to provide.
Contributions are tax-deductible and are welcome from individuals and corporate entities, large and small. You can make a huge difference by committing to a corporate matching campaign or employee giving campaign. We can help you create a campaign that works for you. We also encourage you to host a fundraiser to support this initiative. Recently, companies and individuals have both hosted very successful fundraising campaigns. CAM Solar held a fundraiser in Austin, Texas and raised $5,000, while Justine Burt of Palo Alto, California raised $15,000 through an online crowdfunding effort.
Fill out the form below to make an equipment donation or monetary donation. Companies that wish to make equipment donations will receive a followup message with details on shipping.
Which type of tax-deductible donation would you like to make?
“After Hurricane Maria knocked out power to 95% of Puerto Rico in September 2017, we learned that 98% of their electricity was generated by burning fossil fuels. It seemed like solar photovoltaics would be a much better option for this sunny island, so we decided to raise money for a solar emergency microgrid for a small medical clinic. As we promoted this fundraising effort to our friends, family and colleagues, we found 120 of them had been wanting to do something to help Puerto Rico as well. We are so grateful for the great work the Solar Foundation, New Energy, Direct Relief, and Operation Blessing have done to make this important project to happen.”
– Justine Burt and Chris Cocca, Palo Alto, California
“We are honored to partner with The Solar Foundation and rise to the occasion to bring sunshine to our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico. Our upcoming RISE + SHINE Festivals and our #EmergencyPower initiative will dedicate proceeds to the Solar Saves Lives program to make clinics on the island more resilient and better prepared when everything else fails.”
-Faisal El Azzouzi, Founder @ GETCHARGEDUP
Where Will My Donation Go?
Donated equipment should be shipped to Ocala, Florida, where we have partners to aggregate and transport the equipment directly to affected areas. Through our partners, we are coordinating with installers on the ground to ensure proper installation and service. The Solar Foundation will track the donations and send delivery confirmation to donors.
About the Health Centers
One of our top priorities is the 60 rural medical clinics in Puerto Rico — many of which remain closed due to lack of power. While some centers have restored power, most are powered by back-up generators, running on expensive and dirty diesel fuel. These clinics, all of which are nonprofit organizations, not only provide critical medical services but can serve as distribution centers for additional supplies.
These health centers are part of the Puerto Rico Primary Care Association Network, a nonprofit system of health centers that are dedicated to providing services to those without insurance or ability to pay. These health centers remained opened before, during and after Irma and Maria, while many independent providers were shut down. The Primary Care Network is part of the critical infrastructure of Puerto Rico. Our goal is to make them as resilient as possible within the margin of economic feasibility.
About the Plaza del Mercado de Río Piedras
The Río Piedras market is the largest public food and produce market in Puerto Rico, and a key economic driver in the Río Piedras neighborhood of San Juan. The market was identified by San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz as a key priority for installing solar. This project is being undertaken in partnership with New Energy.
Through this project, we plan to install an approximately 1,300 kW (1.3 MW) solar system on the Río Piedras market to offset its critical energy demands. The first 250 kW of this installation have been made possible by a donation of solar PV modules, which will be paired with additional donations of inverters and racking. Additionally, to lower the total energy demand of the market, the partners plan to upgrade the market’s air conditioning and lighting systems.
To complete the full installation, we are seeking additional partnerships for in-kind donations of solar equipment, including modules, racking, inverters, and storage as well as funding to support the procurement of additional equipment and installation of the system. We are also seeking partners to make in-kind donations of more efficient HVAC, lighting, and refrigeration.
Why Solar Saves Lives?
Solar Saves Lives is a unique effort that is uniting solar companies and leading relief organizations to deliver supplies where they are needed the most. Leading the effort is The Solar Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that is bringing the solar industry together in a coordinated response to the hurricanes. Building on the work that the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and individual solar companies have already done, we are proud to lead this initiative and expand the network of organizations involved in the relief efforts.
Your monetary contributions will go directly to the relief effort, minus a small administrative fee of 5 percent.
This effort is part of The Solar Foundation’s larger initiative to respond to emergencies and promote solar-resilient communities, harnessing the power of solar and solar+storage technologies. Learn more about The Solar Foundation.
“With battery storage, solar power is the resilient, low-cost energy solution of the future. Alongside Solar Saves Lives, Sunrun is proud to provide the immediate relief of clean, reliable power that will last for decades to come.” — Lynn Jurich, co-founder and CEO, Sunrun
“We are calling on our members to do their part to help turn the lights on after the hurricanes. Together, we will restore electricity in critical locations while helping upgrade the grid with distributed energy and solar + storage technologies.” — Tom Tansy, Chairman, SunSpec Alliance
“Carolina Solar is excited to help Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands rebuild critical electric services with solar and distributed generation. The contributions made through Solar Saves Lives will help use local energy resources to build a resilient electric grid.” — Richard Harkrader, CEO, Carolina Solar Energy LLC
“We are proud to participate in this amazing effort. Our monetary contribution to Solar Saves Lives will help cover the cost of shipping products from the mainland United States to Puerto Rico. We hope that other solar companies and members of the general public will join us to support the recovery in this time of great need. We know that solar can make an immediate and lasting impact on the people of Puerto Rico, and we are privileged to be able to help.” — Daniel Moyer, Chief Operating Officer, CAM Solar