During the outages that have hobbled Puerto Rico since Hurricane Fiona hit September 18, a fire station and 45 residents on the island of Culebra have benefited from power supplied by microgrids — and have shared the wealth with their neighbors, many of them still without electricity.
Puerto Rico was still rebuilding its infrastructure from the effects of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in September 2017. Then Hurricane Fiona, a category 1 hurricane, struck, again leaving most of the island without power and many without water.
The 45 residential microgrids — plus one at the fire station — in Culebra, located off the east coast of Puerto Rico, went into full backup mode when Fiona approached, said Dan Whittle, senior director for Caribbean initiatives at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which installed the microgrids.
“Our 45 people are bending over backward to help their neighbors,” said Whittle.
The homes are resiliency hubs, each serving as a refuge for neighbors without solar. The neighbors can visit the microgrid users to plug in phones and meet their healthcare needs, he said. The microgrid users are low to moderate income, single parents, elderly and those with health needs.