Jeff Masters Weather Blog

Nonprofit helps bring solar to the Puerto Rican island of Vieques » Yale Climate Connections

After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, the small island of Vieques – just off the coast of the main island – went without electric power from the grid for more than a year.

Martin Bras: “The energy loss and the lack of efficient recovery left a lot of people in dire straits, and many people, sadly, died from that.”

Mark Martin Bras is with ViequesLove, a nonprofit. He says that as climate change brings more intense storms, generating solar power locally can help reduce the risk of long, disruptive power outages.

The Department of Energy has committed hundreds of millions of dollars to installing solar panels and battery systems at up to 40,000 homes across Puerto Rico.

It’s targeting low-income households and those that depend on electricity to run medical equipment.

On Vieques, Martin Bras’s group was selected as a solar ambassador for the program, helping people learn about solar and apply for funding.

Martin Bras: “We’re not only providing a way that they can recover … we’re providing a little bit of hope that there’s a new way, that, yes, the conditions are harsh, yes, the forecast is not for a reduction in these storms or these situations, but there are answers.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media

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