After the massive devastation that was placed on Puerto Rico during hurricane Maria, the children’s hospital, Hospital del Nino’s in San Juan, has resorted to alternative methods for energy and have re-purposed one of their parking lots into a solar panel covered source of power. The massive space in the parking lot allowed for them to establish nearly more than 800 solar panels to help provide the much needed electricity to the children’s hospital.
This an extremely crucial factor for locals since this nonprofit hospital is one of the only rehabilitation facilities for children in Puerto Rico right now. To give you some idea of how important this is, Hospital del Nino is one of the first alternative-energy experiments that has been successful on the island with an awesome partnership between the government of Puerto Rico and Tesla, the organization that is well known for their electric car models.
Juliana Canino, director of Hospital del Nino’s, states that the microgrid “Gives us the opportunity to continue our services. We have 35 patients with chronic and physical and mental conditions, and they need skilled nursing services 24 hours a day seven days a week.” As Canino gives a tour of the microgrid she explains: “They were assembled and tested in eight days, and on a sunny day we can produce up to 250 kilowatts of energy.”
This amount of energy can provide power for the hospital up to about 20 hours while having to resort to their generators for the rest of the time. Canino claims “Generators are not built to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for 50 days. We only had one generator working at the time of the hurricane, and it was after two weeks we were able to put the second generator to work. So definitely we were scared that the first generator was going to break.”
That was about the time that Tesla decided to call the hospital so that they could provide the money and materials necessary to get their first microgrid up and running for the sake of saving lives by the minute. Tesla states that they will lend a hand in the hospital solar microgrid as part of a humanitarian aid initiative in Puerto Rico. This is so that the children’s hospital can have the necessary time to recover from the damage until the local electrical system has been fixed.
Canino states that getting a call from Tesla was like winning the jackpot, she says “I actually felt a little bit skeptical at the beginning, but then when I saw them working I was very relieved. Definitely, it’s less of a burden for us not to use diesel [generators] all the time.”
Although many parts of Puerto Rico are still in dire need of aid when it comes to food, water, and energy, this is one of the next best steps for the island to start rebuilding themselves. Many other projects such as this microgrid will be introduced all over the island in hopes that communities can finally reestablish a basic way of living again. There are multiple ways that you can get involved, ranging from donating canned foods, bottled water, and even money donations are all effective ways to aid in the recovery of hurricane Maria.