San Juan, Puerto Rico & Grass Valley, Calif. January 17, 2020 – Once again, Puerto Rico has been stricken by a natural disaster, this time a series of of over 1280 earthquakes, that have caused over $110M in damage -toppling over 500 homes – and plunging the entire island into intermittent darkness due to severe damage to one of Puerto Rico’s primary power plants, which could take more than a year to repair.
BoxPower Inc., a California start-up company providing rapidly deployable renewable microgrids in shipping containers, got their start in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, when they deployed one of their Modular Solar Microgrids at a community center providing food and shelter to those impacted by the hurricane. Now, almost two years later, BoxPower has returned to Puerto Rico in the wake of the earthquake to deploy two more microgrids: at a school resilience center and medical clinic in the south of the island, both of which have been impacted by the recent earthquakes.
In the southern town of Guayama, BoxPower has partnered with Mercy Corps, to install a 24kW SolarContainer at a school resilience center, which will serve as a gathering place for community members during outages or disasters – providing a place for them to charge phones, computers, and medical devices and to organize disaster response efforts. The system, which consists of a solar array mounted to a shipping container with pre-wired batteries and inverters inside, can power an average-sized medical clinic, school, or other critical facility during extended outages. BoxPower’s technicians arrived on Monday, January 13th, and the system is scheduled for final commissioning on Friday, January 17th.
Closer to the earthquake epicenter, BoxPower has partnered with Direct Relief to deliver one of their MiniBox trailers, a scaled down, fully mobile version of their SolarContainers capable of being towed behind a standard car or truck. This unit will be used to provide power to a medical clinic impacted by the earthquake, to ensure that medications and vaccines can remain refrigerated and usable in the event of ongoing power outages.
Resilient energy supply is critical to ensure other infrastructure services, such as water and telecommunications systems, continue to function. A reliable energy supply ensures people can power critical medical devices and stay connected with charged mobile phones, computers and internet services. Businesses have light, power and refrigeration, and governments, schools, medical centres and NGOs can access the power they need to deliver essential services.
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“The Center is like an oasis of power that every time the community doesn’t have power, they come to use the laundry, charge their phones, cook, study, do their homeworks. This place has become an inspiration to people to start looking for new ways of being resilience, sustainable and have a quality of life.” – Francisco Nieves, PAM Mariana.
Microgrids are leading the trend away from traditional utility transmission models towards decentralized power systems that don’t rely on grid infrastructure. BoxPower’s systems, developed at Princeton University, utilize a modular design that packs all components required for installation in a container so that they can be delivered quickly and installed efficiently. This allows for rapid deployment in response to emergencies and a reduction in time and cost when compared to traditional custom systems in permanent settings. In either case, BoxPower provides a clean, cost-effective alternative to the current, unsustainable solution – diesel generators.
Company Info: Boxpower’s plug + play, solar + battery back-up systems deliver fast, reliable, and affordable, energy anywhere.
BoxPower’s modular microgrid systems can deliver renewable and reliable power as a cost-effective alternative to diesel generators. By pre-assembling and mass-producing their systems in shipping containers, BoxPower can help communities, governments, businesses and emergency relief agencies prepare for and respond to disasters. The systems are scalable and configurable to a broad range of use cases and help to deliver clean, affordable, reliable energy access to emerging markets around the world. BoxPower is proud to help deliver energy access and contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 7.