Puerto Rico Farm Survives Hurricane Maria With Solar Panels
8 months ago

Renewable power has helped Puerto Rico get back on track after Hurricane Maria devastated the island and took down much of the traditional energy infrastructure. Tesla has been attempting to help by shipping out Powerwalls to pair up with solar generation solutions. Solar power has also aided a local 40-acre farm to get back on track in a hurry.

Six years ago, horticulturist Hector Santiago invested $300,000 in solar energy for his Barranquitas farm. 244 solar panels generate power for the greenhouse plants he takes care of. It’s a large array of solar panels, but it’s needed for the 2,500-plus light bulbs that are used to maximize plant growth in his greenhouses.

“Everybody told me I was crazy because it was so expensive,” Santiago told Reuters. “Now I have power and they don‘t.” While spending well into six figures for solar panels is extremely pricey, he was able to get some of that money back by selling excess energy to the grid. He also does a lot of business with local shops, Caribbean stores, and wholesale outlets.

While the hurricane damaged his facility and destroyed some of his garden, he was quickly able to recover thanks to power pumping water from two wells on the property. Nearly a quarter of his solar array was destroyed in the storm, but there was enough to keep the plants growing and the water flowing.

Both water and energy remains scarce in Puerto Rico. As of Tuesday, water service has been restored to 50 percent of the island -- mostly in metropolitan, South, and East areas. Rural areas in the North and West sections generally still don’t even have access to fresh water, and it’s unknown when the island will be fully operational. For many, the only result was to abandon their homes until service is restored.

Volunteers have been installing solar panel generation systems in community centers, such as restaurants or public spaces, for areas that were hardest hit. Not only will they distribute food and water, but residents would be able to charge cell phones and get in contact with their loved ones. Jonathan Marvel, who was born in Puerto Rico, has posted $50,000 for this effort through his self-named architectural firm, Marvel Architects.

After a storm like this, solar power generation could turn into a more common resource. Henry Pichardo, who installs solar systems for local residents in Bayamon, believes he’ll see a 20 percent increase in his business annually based off of demand after the storm. He told Reuters that,“people are going to become more conscious of how they are living and invest more in solar.”

NewsCosta Rica Plans To Eliminate Fossil Fuels By 2021

Costa Rica's new president, Carlos Alvarado, plans to eliminate the country's carbon footprint by banning fossil fuels by 2021. While the timeline seems unrealistic, the country is close to fully running on renewable energy, but they have to fix their transportation infrastructure.

By Brian Spaen
1 day ago
Style'Be Zero' Founder Reveals The Waste-Free Staples She Keeps In Her Purse

Andrea Sanders, founder of Be Zero, knows a thing or two about creating a green beauty regimen. The popular author and educator teaches people every day how to create sustainable and mindful habits. And today, she's giving Green Matters a peek inside her purse.

By Desiree Kaplan
2 days ago
NewsLouisiana Creates Unique Plan To Save Its Coast By Diverting Mississippi River

Levees are built to help prevent the overflow of rivers and to save land from storm surges, but they've had a negative effect on Louisiana's wetlands. The state is creating divisions in these levees to bring needed sediment to marshes in order to restore land.

By Brian Spaen
3 days ago
TechnologyThis Smart Technology Makes It Easier For National Parks To Go Green

A recent report called Smart Parks suggests that connecting national parks with sensors and monitors will help offer useful, real-time communication to park visitors while helping park employees keep better track of things like waste management.

By Desiree Kaplan
4 days ago
Stay Green
Sign up for our newsletter