Building Energy Resilience in Puerto Rico
San Juan Stoplights
Traffic lights remain dark in San Juan, Puerto Rico nine months after Hurricane Maria struck.
Solar Panels in G8 HQ
Additional solar panels await installation at the offices of G8 in Caño Martín Peña, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Generator, Sector Playita
A generator sits sheltered outside a home in Sector Playita, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Solar in El Hoyo
A solar installation from Casa Pueblo sits atop Maria Medina’s home in El Hoyo, Adjuntas, Puerto Rico.
Maria Medina received a solar installation to power her peritoneal dialysis machine. El Hoyo, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Solar Bank in the Kitchen
A temporary solar bank sits in Wilson Reyes Rivera’s kitchen. Pellejas, Adjuntas, Puerto Rico.
Wilson Reyes Rivera’s home, which had its roof blown off by Hurricane Maria. Pellejas, Adjuntas, Puerto Rico.
An idle generator sits outside Wilson Reyes Rivera’s home, providing power to his mother’s house. Pellejas, Adjuntas, Puerto Rico.
Solar in El Coquí
A solar installation sits atop El Coquí Community Center in Salinas, Puerto Rico.
A girl rides her bike through the community of El Coquí, Salinas, Puerto Rico.
A downed power line hangs in front of the Aguirre Power Complex, the largest in Puerto Rico. Aguirre, Salinas, PR
Adalberto Santiago stands in his kitchen, without power for nine months. Jácanas Granjas, Yabucoa, Puerto Rico
Adalberto Santiago’s refrigerator goes unused, as he now only keeps non-perishable food at home. Jácanas Granjas, Yabucoa, PR.
Hurricane Maria exposed a truth that Puerto Ricans had known for a long time: the island’s energy infrastructure is weak and in severe need of upgrades. Calls to address this historic lack of investment were broadcast loud and clear in the months following the storm, but numerous factors have combined to stall progress. The territory is in a deep fiscal crisis, its electric authority, PREPA, has long been mismanaged, and reconstruction efforts have been hampered by the Stafford Act, which legislates that FEMA disaster relief funds can only be used to rebuild infrastructure to its original state. This effectively forces PREPA to restore the grid to vulnerability, rather than making appropriate upgrades. While power has been restored to the vast majority of Puerto Ricans, thousands in isolated communities still lack power nine months after the hurricane.
For more of Cody’s report, please click here.