Written by Guest Blogger Sandra Herrera, Sales Application Engineer
The continued recovery of Puerto Rico has moved from the short-term, which included delivering immediate assistance, to the long-term, which is the strategic planning that provides for local businesses and the community to rebuild and reinforce services for the future.
The American Red Cross is an NGO (Non-governmental organization) and has many programs and services to prepare communities and respond to disasters. After hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and many other Caribbean islands in 2017, the Red Cross was ready to help support the urgent need for food, water, relief supplies, etc.
After those immediate needs were addressed, the Red Cross shifted their support to a long-term plan for community resiliency. This included the selection of around one hundred schools throughout Puerto Rico that serve as shelters to be equipped with solar microgrids that will help to provide power independence in case of another disaster.
Each school will have two independent microgrids; one for the shelter and one for the kitchen. This approach provides them with a true emergency power backup to their other backup systems. The microgrids are composed of multiple solar arrays that will charge a large battery bank where the school can store energy to use overnight and on cloudy days, and inverter systems which will convert the stored energy into usable alternating power for the shelter and kitchen.
Some of these school projects were awarded to Dynamic Solar. They are a local EPC company dedicated to solar design and installation in Puerto Rico and have been in business since 2008. They have selected Schneider Electric products: XW+ hybrid inverters, Conext™ MPPT 60/80 charge controllers, and other communication devices for the projects. All Schneider products used on these schools were procured through Caribbean Energy Distributors.
The additional benefit with this microgrid system is that when the power grid is in a normal state, these systems will help each school by reducing their electrical utility bill. If the microgrid experiences a power outage, the control system dynamically changes from a normal self-consumption mode to full backup mode.
The solar microgrid systems at several schools are already operational with more nearing completion. It is anticipated that all of the systems in the schools will be operational in 2019.
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