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 eleven 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 has only recently gotten electricity back and 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. This project is a recent startup and will continue to grow as assessments of the shelter’s electricity demand, structure, and solar potential are made. We hope to begin the first phase of solar array implementation and energy education, such as how to use minimal electricity throughout the day, within a year. The initial design aspect of the project will include designing a battery to help store extra power generated by the solar array and to build structures to put some of the panels on that will withstand possible hurricane conditions in the future to keep the shelter running even through disaster.
The Puerto Rico project has been busy this past semester establishing a basis for the logistics of the solar installment at the Hogar Albergue para Niños Jesús de Nazaret. Since our initial outreach in March of 2018, a plan for installment at the Hogar has been created and the materials for the beginning phase have been purchased.
Currently, funds have been spent on inverters, distribution panels, an installation kit, and 103 solar panels. The education team has written workshop scripts and has established a social media presence. The fundraising team has created promotional documents for project publicity.
A small team took an assessment trip to Puerto Rico this January and had meetings to network our project with other possible mentors or helpful contacts. The group took measurements for solar panels that are to be implemented in August. They also took many pictures with exact specifications for every appliance that is being used in the shelter.
We are currently working on establishing a second Puerto Rico project at an all-boys school on the east side of the island; the project there would be very similar.