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OCTOBER 2, 2017
The effects of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico represent a disaster of mammoth proportions. The category five hurricane destroyed the island’s electricity grid, and it is expected to take four to six months to restore electricity to some parts of the island.
But while the Trump Administration continues to make excuses for its failure to provide adequate aid to U.S. citizens, at least one energy storage company is making plans to provide electricity to Puerto Rico. sonnen has announced a new initiative to build microgrids on the island, starting with emergency relief sites.
sonnen’s plan centers on its relationship with a local partner and distributor of its products, Pura Energia, and sonnen intends to subsidize the company’s expenses for installing sonnen units and solar arrays. Additionally, once its strategic plan is underway, sonnen plans to employ a team of engineers and technicians to lead the microgrid campaign from system design through final installation.
sonnen is specifically targeting emergency medical clinics that require electricity to refrigerate medicine, as well as emergency shelters. The company has also expressed interest in partnering with a water filtration company to complement efforts at the microgrids, however this does not appear to have moved to a more advanced stage.
Shipments of sonnen’s Eco Energy Storage Systems to Puerto Rico to assist with the disaster relief effort have already begun, and the company says that its plan now is to ship a batch of these systems weekly to the island. The company has a goal to have the first microgrids operational in less than one month’s time, which it describes as ambitious but achievable.
“Our biggest challenge at this point will be gaining access to the ports,” notes sonnen VP of Operations and Quality Control Brent Stayer. “We remain hopeful that, starting next week, it will become easier to deliver our product to the island.”
sonnen Founder and CEO Christoph Ostermann is also clear that the disaster in Puerto Rico is due in part to the earth’s warming climate.
“What is happening in Puerto Rico is a tragedy and as fellow human beings, it is our duty to stand firmly with the people of Puerto Rico and do everything possible to help start the rebuilding process,” states Ostermann. “From my perspective, there is a clear connection between our mission to support humanity during a climate disaster and our mission to fight climate change.”