Solar+storage microgrid keeps Puerto Rican school open

Battery maker sonnen has commissioned a solar + battery storage microgrid at a primary school in a remote Puerto Rican town.

The German firm undertook the project in the town of Orocovis in collaboration with its local partner, solar PV developer Pura Energàƒ­a.

Orocovis is located on one of the highest mountain peaks in Puerto Rico, and is difficult to reach due to road and bridge wash-outs along the single-lane road that winds through the mountains.

For the project, sonnen donated two smart energy storage systems, a 4 kW/8 kWh system and an 8 kW/14 kWh system, to be paired with a 15 kW rooftop solar system donated by Pura Energàƒ­a.

The SU Matrullas school has been completely off-grid since Hurricane Maria hit the town in September 2017 and is not expected to have power for many months. The new microgrid will provide enough energy to keep the school open, sonnen said.

SU Matrullas currently does not plan to reconnect with the grid operated by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) after power is restored to the area. Instead, it aims to become 100 per cent self-sustaining through the new microgrid and the installation of a water collection and filtration system.

The school represents the ninth and tenth microgrid systems that sonnen and Pura Energàƒ­a have installed on the island since Hurricane Maria, amounting to over $350,000 in donated technology and labour. à‚ 

Adam Gentner, sonnen’s Director of Business Development, Latin American Expansion, said: “We have witnessed first-hand not only a collaborative humanitarian effort that has aided critical recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, but one that has fostered forward-thinking strategies leveraging an integrated renewable energy capable of providing power to a large group of people.

“These microgrids effectively form the blueprint for more than just recovery, but for preparation for islands and regions around the world that are susceptible to natural disasters and power outages.”

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