- Rocky Mountain Institute has equipped schools to withstand future weather events and grid outages.
- This, a year after Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico and left millions without power.
- They hope this project will inspire and encourage other schools and critical facilities to explore solar microgrids.
New York — Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), Save the Children and Kinesis Foundation has completed the installation of 10 renewable microgrids in 10 schools located in the mountainous region of Puerto Rico.
Many of the schools that received microgrid systems 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.
Save the Children focused on helping schools and their communities become more resilient in the event of future natural disasters, and on strengthening social and emotional learning for the schools’ students. RMI managed the solar microgrid system installation at school campuses to ensure learning was not disrupted as it was following the hurricanes in 2018. Kinesis Foundation and other generous funders provided financial support for the project.
The project included the installation of sufficient battery and solar capacity to back up 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.
“We are pleased the schools microgrid program 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 program leader.
“This project demonstrates Save the Children’s commitment to the island’s most vulnerable children, since the earliest days after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. Over our nearly 100 years of working around the world to support children, we know the important role that schools play in the lives of children, families and communities. We are very grateful to Rocky Mountain Institute for their leadership in ensuring lights stay on, even in the darkest moments after a disaster,” said Teruca Subira, Save the Children’s Puerto Rico director.
“At Kinesis we are proud to be able to transform the lives of Puerto Rican youth and to do so permanently. Together with RMI and Save the Children, we continue to focus in sustainable initiatives that directly benefit our students and their communities and facilitate the positive transformation of Puerto Rico’s education and its infrastructure system,” said Jose Fernandez Richards, president of Kinesis Foundation.
RMI is a nonprofit organization and serves as an unbiased technical advisor and provides implementation support to governments, utilities, developers and other energy stakeholders. RMI operates in Puerto Rico under the auspices of the Islands Energy Program: rmi.org/islands, and focuses on implementing renewable microgrid programs across the country.