“We will be flipping the switch any minute now,” said Andy Newbold, a public policy director at Sunrun, which installed the system. Sunrun, a San Francisco-based residential solar provider, worked with nonprofit groups including Empowered by Light and Givepower to coordinate the installation.
The Barrio Obrero fire station is the first to be powered by the sun in Puerto Rico, according to Newbold, who also spoke to CNBC from San Juan. He said the setup, including solar panels and battery storage, will provide more resilient power than the diesel generator the fire station has been relying on. The solar panels on the roof, he said, can withstand 150 mph wind.
“It appears the federal emergency response is focused on diesel to repower the island,” Marco Krapels, co-founder of Empowered by Light, said in a statement. “We wanted to demonstrate with real projects — with immediate impact, that renewable energy technology is available now and it’s a much more resilient alternative to diesel.”