A German energy provider says it will be installing microgrids in Puerto Rico to help power emergency centers around the island. According to Bloomberg, Sonnen GmbH is a “energy-storage” systems provider and will be shipping smaller systems every week as ports reopen.
Puerto Rico’s electricity grid was completely knocked out when Hurricane Maria slammed into the island Sept. 20, and repairs are expected to take months. That’s generating interest in microgrids, small-scale systems that combine solar panels and batteries that can be installed quickly to restore power to a few buildings at a time. Tesla Inc. is sending hundreds of its Powerwall battery systems to the island, and Sunnova Inc., Puerto Rico’s largest rooftop solar provider, plans to install batteries to complement its systems. [...]
Sonnen is donating equipment for the 15 relief centers. It also expects increased demand for its systems with Puerto Rico consumers and will donate profit from local sales to build as many as 35 additional microgrids on the island.
Sonnen has installed more than 20 storage systems in Puerto Rico since 2016 and has at least 90 more on order or on their way to the island. The batteries are produced at the company’s recently opened factory in Atlanta, and the first microgrids will be operating in less than a month.
Tesla announced similar relief a couple of days ago, sending hundreds of the company’s Powerwall battery systems to Puerto Rico.
Powerwalls, first unveiled in 2015, are large batteries designed to store power gathered by solar panels. Tesla sent its own employees to help install units, and is reportedly working with local organizations to find the best locations for the power banks. These could potentially be worked into whatever energy network can be constructed, but there's no timeline for how long it will take to revive the commonwealth's power network.
In unrelated news, unpopular white supremacist Donald Trump offered Puerto Rico a trophy.