What it's about:
Puerto Rico is preparing for the upcoming hurricane season by installing solar emergency microgrids at hospitals, police stations and clinics, according to a renewable energy expert.
The solar microgrids will allow medical and other emergency facilities to provide aid even if the national grid shuts down, Frank Wasko, programme director for U.S. non-profit Clean Coalition, writes in PV Magazine.
Renewable energy has helped the Caribbean island rebuild after Hurricane Maria and prepare for the impending season, according to Wasko.
The Solar Saves Lives project, an initiative backed by the Clinton Foundation, is working to install solar microgrids at 12 of Puerto Rico's 62 hospitals and clinics. The grids will provide the facilities with sufficient backup storage in the case of a power outage, allowing them to serve the community during emergencies.
Investment should be directed towards solar microgrids rather than rebuilding a new centralised electric grid, Wasko writes, arguing that in the face of natural disasters, renewables can bolster national resilience.
Why it's noteworthy:
Eight months after Hurricane Maria, parts of Puerto Rico are still without electricity. Many households remain cut off from the power grid and rely heavily on polluting diesel generators for electricity.
Diesel shortages on the island have exacerbated the situation, leaving many without access to clean water, healthcare and other basic services.
A long-term, sustainable solution is needed to ensure that residents have energy access at all times. Solar systems could power the island even in the most critical situations, according to Wasko, preventing future devastation.
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