This solar-powered cafeteria and emergency response center will provide 7,000+ Puerto Rican students, families and community members with access to hot meals, satellite communication, and electricity during emergencies, as well as clean sustainable energy for the school's cafeteria year-round.
After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, Nuestra Escuela was able to serve over 9,000 free meals to the community using diesel fuel generators in its small kitchen. However, the cost of diesel was over $1,000 per week, totaling $24,000 over 6 months. Cellular communications were down in the metropolitan area for 2.5 months which slowed recovery, and the highest mortalities from Maria were people who simply were not able to plug in their medical equipment to a reliable power source.
With a solar-powered cafeteria, Nuestra Escuela could provide over 2X the amount of meals in a disaster. Reliable charging stations would be made available for medical devices and refrigeration for certain medications. Emergency satellite communication would allow better coordination for relief efforts. During the school year, the solar cafeteria will save money and will be integrated into the curriculum to teach students about work opportunities in the high-growth solar industry.
This project will support the collective movement towards renewable energy in Puerto Rico. Organizations across industries are working in solidarity to transition 50% of the residential sector's energy usage to solar, saving $481 million per year and creating more resilient communities that can sustain themselves in future environmental disasters. In the face of climate change, this shift is critical to stop the continued pollution of our planet through fossil fuel extraction and consumption.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).