Originally published on RMI.org
A year after Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico and left millions without power, schools have equipped themselves to withstand future weather events and grid outages to continue providing education to their students.
Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), Save the Children, and Kinesis Foundation have completed the installation of 10 renewable microgrids in 10 schools located in the mountainous region of Puerto Rico.
Many of the schools that received microgrid systems were without power for six months after the hurricanes. Four hundred faculty members and 3,600 students were impacted by this project and now have access to clean, resilient power if future severe weather events or grid outages occur.
Save the Children focused on helping schools and their communities become more resilient in the event of future natural disasters, and on strengthening social and emotional learning for the schools’ students. RMI managed the solar microgrid system installation at school campuses to ensure learning was not disrupted as it was following the hurricanes in 2018. Kinesis Foundation and other generous funders provided financial support for the project.
The project included the installation of sufficient battery and solar capacity to back up school libraries, administrative offices, kitchens, and critical water pumps indefinitely in the event of an outage. Additionally, the project provided roof waterproofing, energy efficiency retrofits such as LED lighting, and curriculum support for teachers to incorporate climate change and renewable energy into their classrooms.
“We are pleased the schools microgrid program will ensure students and faculty members now have access to a resilient learning environment. We hope this project will inspire and encourage other schools and critical facilities to explore solar microgrids as a pathway to building local energy resilience,” said Roy Torbert, RMI’s Puerto Rico program leader.
“This project demonstrates Save the Children’s commitment to the island’s most vulnerable children, since the earliest days after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. Over our nearly 100 years of working around the world to support children, we know the important role that schools play in the lives of children, families and communities. We are very grateful to Rocky Mountain Institute for their leadership in ensuring lights stay on, even in the darkest moments after a disaster,” said Teruca Subira, Save the Children’s Puerto Rico director.
“At Kinesis we are proud to be able to transform the lives of Puerto Rican youth and to do so permanently. Together with RMI and Save the Children, we continue to focus in sustainable initiatives that directly benefit our students and their communities and facilitate the positive transformation of Puerto Rico’s education and its infrastructure system,” said Jose Fernandez Richards, Kinesis Foundation.
RMI is a nonprofit organization and serves as an unbiased technical advisor and provides implementation support to governments, utilities, developers and other energy stakeholders. RMI operates in Puerto Rico under the auspices of the Islands Energy Program: rmi.org/islands, and focuses on implementing renewable microgrid programs across the country.
This project was made possible due to support from Kinesis Foundation, Save the Children, and individual donors.
About Rocky Mountain Institute
Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)—an independent nonprofit founded in 1982—transforms global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future. It engages businesses, communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs to accelerate the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; the San Francisco Bay Area; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.
About Save the Children
Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding 100 years ago, we’ve changed the lives of more than 1 billion children. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
About Kinesis Foundation
Because every student have the right to receive an equal and quality education, we seek to transform Puerto Rico by helping talented students with financial need in Puerto Rico overcome socioeconomic barriers and achieve excellence at the highest academic levels to ensure they get the best jobs in the future. www.kinesispr.org.
Image: Solar Panels, by Cynthia Shahan | CleanTechnica
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