Puerto Rico Program
The Puerto Rico project is centered at Hogar Albergue para Niños Jesús de Nazaret, a children's shelter in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. It is a home that offers shelter, food, transportation, education, social and psychological services to children ages 3 to 9 who are victims of abuse. After Hurricane Maria’s devastation in September of 2017, there has been an energy crisis across the island. The shelter currently pays approximately $1,000 each month for electricity. The goal of this project is to install a photovoltaic solar panel array with the aim to reduce the children's shelter’s monthly electricity bill. The system currently contains 97 solar panel cells on top of 3 buildings at the shelter, feeding energy into 4 inverters along with a proposed system of 14 batteries. The design is nearly finalized and implementation is set to begin during Spring 2020. The implementation will occur in phases since we still need to fundraise about $30,000 to pay for the battery system
March 2018: Project founded in conjunction with Professor Tinjum at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Ethan Heroux and Allie Stephens are established as the Project Managers.
May 2018: We received a Puerto Rico Relief Fund grant for $20,000.
July 2018: We received a grant from Renew Wisconsin’s Solar For Good Initiative for $10,000.
August 2018: Professor James Tinjum biked 2,000 km in 2 weeks passing through 4 states and visiting 50 solar sites in 39 cities. During this #BiketheSun trip, he raised $5,000 from corporate donations and $2588 from public donations for the project.
October 2018: The Hogar received the First Lady of Puerto Rico grant for $25,000. This money was used to buy solar panels, inverters, and power distribution panels.
November 2018: We became an official Engineers Without Borders Community Engineering Corps project. We are the first project to operate in Puerto Rico.
January 2019: A team traveled to the Hogar. The team held networking meetings with mentors and contractors, took detailed measurements of the facilities, and established specifications for appliances used in the buildings. They also continued to build relationships with the staff and children at the shelter.
Spring 2019: Angel Zayas was solidified as an in-country contractor. The entire semester was spent designing the system.
January 2020: A team traveled to the Hogar. The team established connections with contractors, finalized system designs, and further community relations. Finally, they established a timeline for the implementation of the system. Also, we received the Kemper K grant for $12,000.
February 2020: The Operations & Maintenance Manual was finalized and reviewed by MAPC mentors. Final designs were sent to Angel and Prepa.
March 2020: Implementation of the system will start.
May 2020: A team will travel to the Hogar to assist and oversee the implementation.