How Solar Energy Is Bringing Power Back to Puerto Rico


(somber music) – The Hurricane Maria was devastating. It took out the entire island
in every way imaginable. There was no electricity. There was no water. There was no gasoline. It was chaos. It was utter chaos. We can no longer rely on large fossil fuel-burning power
plants distributing energy and wires that are just gonna
get blown down every year. We have all of this
power coming from the sun that needs to be harnessed. You can be completely off the grid. I’m Jonathan Marvel, and I’m an architect. (upbeat flamenco music) I was born a few miles away in Hato Rey in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This is the neighborhood where I grew up and got local fish from Cataño Bay. I was a street kid. Spanish was my first language. Left Puerto Rico at the age of 18. Graduated from college and university. Started my architecture
career in New York City. But for 30 years, I would
always come back to Puerto Rico three or four times a year and never really left
the island in spirit. (somber music) The idea to start
Resilient Power Puerto Rico started a day or two
after the hurricane hit. I was in New York at the time
watching what was going on, immediately wanted to help. What can we do with our
architecture design services, our engineering services? Community centers are very common, so we thought let’s start
powering up the community centers with solar panels and batteries. The beautiful thing about solar energy is you can really run your operation, whether it’s a community
center or your house or your hospital completely off the grid. Two weeks after the hurricane, we were able to put these
batteries and panels up and within a five minute walking distance, four or five thousand people
from this neighborhood can get all those services
you need to survive. Each of these centers can provide
refrigeration for insulin; they can filter water; the lights are on, but most of all, you can gather
around with other people; you’re not alone. You have a place to
go-a place to get help. When there’s no hurricane, these are places for education, resources, afterschool activities,
mental health and hygiene, and all sorts of social
services on a daily basis. So far, we’ve powered
up 20 community centers: 5,000 people per community
center, that’s 100,000 people. (ethereal music) Architects are big dreamers. We love to think about the future. We love to think about the possibilities. Getting Puerto Rico to
be 100% renewable energy is definitely obtainable because it’s a grassroots,
bottom-up energy system. Helping other Puerto Ricans is one of my most satisfying
accomplishments ever. It’s not just the feeling
of wow, we’re helping people get by in an emergency situation. We’re actually helping point
the future of the island in the right direction.

100 thoughts on “How Solar Energy Is Bringing Power Back to Puerto Rico”

  1. OMG How many people think that they will not dismount the solar panels before a Hurrican hits?
    We know days prior that the Hurricane is coming. We can dismount the solar panels within hours and bring them somewhere save. Try to dismount a coal plant..

  2. I have a feeling that people think that these Hurricanes came from nowhere. They came from the Atlantic Ocean and hit many islands before Puerto Rico..

    People have plenty of time to dismount the solar panels and bring them somewhere safe in the case of a hurricane attack.

  3. One thing I’m genuinely curious is what is the strength of these solar panel arrays against a hurricane.

  4. absolutely amazing to know that people are still caring for this island, que viva puerto rico 🇵🇷🇵🇷🇵🇷

  5. What a joke, category 5 hurricanes don't come every year. Nothing wrong with a power grid. It's the corrupt leadership of PR that is the problem.

  6. This happened nearly 2 years ago and they still suffer this just shows how bad we fund our territories we don’t give two shits about them .

  7. It's an interesting idea but certainly not a durable solution. Battery are extremely expensive and the solar panels will flown away during the next tempest.
    Come on people…

  8. Puerto Rico is technically USA's 51st state. We should take care of them the way we take care of our 50 states

  9. Good thing puerti rico was hit by a disaster. Made the careless people adapt to earth's health and consider green energy. Idk why tf they make solar panels or any natural energy expensive but would you rather get more money or save the planet you are LIVING on?

  10. I don’t really know why they used batteries they should have used hydro batteries for power in the night also it is way cleaner then batteries

  11. I think they could make their grid more reliable and resiliant to hurricanes if their goverment had the money and will to install underground cables instead of overhead lines.

  12. I am not a architect.. I am just crazy…I was 6 months without power here in PR so i know first hand what a monster can do…I hope those panels hold up during the nezt one…I believe i solved this problem with what i am doing…I am not done yet because of financial restraints…but once i am done i will be giving free classes on what i did to those who want to learn…Diy is the only way this will spread.

  13. So much better than paper towels thrown by an orange idiot…
    Wish people realized that Puerto Rico is part of the country and deserves all our help! I don't know why this is so hard for some to understand.

  14. One power plant, that is across the tropical rain forest & mountains 50 miles from 80% of the population can be easily taken out again and again and again by tropical storms. That is the single most important problem. MOVE THE DAMN POWER PLANT NEXT TO SAN JUAN!!!.

    El problema principal es el puto gobierno de corruptos e ineptos que existe in San Juan. Claramente Puerto Rico no esta listo ni para ser estado o ser independiente. Fuimos de ser provincia a ser una cloaca de colonia. Tenemos que abandonar la tipica zanganeria puertorriqueña y acceptar nuestra responsabilidad individual y comun.

    No nos hacen falta una panda de gringos de mierda para saber lo que tenemos que hacer. Lo sabemos, pero no hacemos un carajo. Menos "gringo splainin'" y mas sudor.

  15. damn u telling me u can run those HVAC units + all other stuff with a bunch of panels with a barely bigger footprint than the outside condensers

  16. I'm all for solar power, but does it make sense to install solar panels in a hurricane-prone area? Damage to the panels in the next hurricane season shall be more financially hard-hitting than rebuilding power-lines. ..speaking of which, why not underground instead of overhead lines? What am I missing here?

  17. Please focus on the mountainous region. The metropolitan area has businesses with Wi-Fi and way easier access to electricity. People in Las Marías, Lares, Moca, San Sebastián suffered immensely during and after the hurricane for almost a year. The metro area was fine, Carolina was fine, all the way to Arecibo was fine. It is in the mountains and the west that things were really bad.

  18. Great news for Puerto Rico! They deserve all of the help possible. I wish solar companies would help our Native Americans in the US. They have been treated so unfairly and also deserve help. It would be wonderful if some people there could be trained regarding solar, how to install, etc. I understand there is a lot of unemployment on the reservations, so, it could provide great opportunities to help our indigenous people. Thanks for sharing!

  19. “I lived outside of Puerto Rico for 30 years while visiting 3-4 times a year”

    I had to leave because of Maria and it hasn’t even been a year and all I think about is nuestra islita. I’ve lived in Europe, the US and I’ve travelled everywhere. Puerto Rico is the best.

    PUNETA Y ESTAS LÁGRIMAS

  20. wires are easily destroyed, by flying debris, solar cells can be protected when the hurricane approach, off the grid is here to stay

  21. Yo soy de Puerto Rico y viví ese huracán y en verdad que eso fue bien fuerte, yo personalmente estuve alrededor de 4 mese sin agua y 2 meses sin luz

  22. And as usual these things cost tons of money to invest. They just pretend it does not. LIES !

    And….this guy who is advertising it, is driving a massive big fossil fueled powered Audi , so much for then also driving an electric car right. Hypocrite.

  23. Very good job. Trump can take an example here. They have enough deserts in the USA to fill them with solar panels. Free electricity for everyone and no pollution from fossil fuels.

  24. This is a beautiful story, thank you so much for sharing this. We need more of projects like this and the world will truly become a better place.

  25. In a just USA, Puerto Rico would be a state, the American mainland would already rely mostly on solar and wind panels instead of fossil fuels, and we would have ranked-choice voting instead of infinite political contributions and the electoral college.

    Instead we can make ourselves feel better about solar panels for Puerto Rico, knowing that thousands of people died as a result of Maria and Trump didn't barely lift a finger.

    Welcome to the fucking USA.

    Good luck finding that message on your God damn television.

  26. Great idea Mr. Marvel, and thank you. How about hospitals as a priority location for solar panels. Building roofs is also helpful for installing solar panels.

  27. Subscribed after watching 2 of your videos! They are so good and have great points! ❤️ thank you

  28. OMG you guys where on the street I used to live on during my college years in Mayaguez. I left mid 2018 after the hurricane tho, that's crazy how small the world is.

  29. The thing about most of these channels don't tell you is that the AEE (Puerto Rico Power Authority) MAKES people with solar panels pay them for having solar panels, but not only that, people can't go off the grid or else they get fined by the AEE. In essence Puerto Ricans can't switch to better alternatives because of a government sponsored monopoly that does not allow people to search for and acquire those better alternatives.

  30. Does anyone know what the top solar company on the island is? I'm going to work for them or a similar company.

  31. As President, I will order, the military to build a million 4-plex homes, each with 100 solar panels, in each state & Puerto Rico, to create more new housing in 2021.  

    PR needs to replace all housing with 4-plex homes w each having 100 solar panels.

    Hector Santiago added 300 panels to his home & barn in PR, in 2008.
    His flower business survived the Hurricane.

    This would help stop the climate emergency. This will create a DECENTRALIZED solar economy to make solar pioneers rich from selling solar to society. A whole new solar/ wind economy that can shut down Big Oil & Big Pharma. Read books by Hans Joseph Fell, Rupert Reid & Guy McPherson. MM is a total waste of time.

    This is how Germany created a DECENTRALIZED solar energy that gives the majority of income from solar to the majority of pioneering solar home builders.

    Ask not what your government can do for you.
    You must take direct action & build at least one new 4-plex home with 100 solar panels
    in your town, wherever a home has burned down.

    Germany is the greenest nations on earth. Join the Solar Workers Union in lobbying to require PG&E & all Utilities to pay $0.39 kWh to solar homes for solar.

    We must follow the leadership of the solar workers in Germany & not waste our time with half baked groups that want to lobby Congress.

    One of the biggest changes America brought forth in the world was the invention of the weekend, the 40 hour week, at 60 hour pay.  
    Yes, all working People on Earth honor the Americans for inventing the weekend.

    We are now facing huge disruptions from AI, robots and automation.  
    It is time for that American invention to be re-invented. To create more quality, more jobs for all young people, as a way to help end sexism & racism, we must now shift to a 30 hour work week, for all Federal jobs, at 40 hours pay.
    Some say we must shift to a 20 hour workweek at 40 hours pay, in all Federal jobs,  to give college students 20 hour work a week, so they can go to college without incurring huge debts.

    We are holding a Climate Emergency meeting every month at 15 Boardman Pl.
    the first Sunday, 12noon to 3pm monthly.  
    Write if you wish to speak at our meeting: 15 Boardman Pl, SF, Ca. 94103.

    YouTube: paul8kangas

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