sonnen-founded nonprofit launches huge solar+storage project for Puerto Rico

The del Sol Foundation for Energy Security, a non-profit organization founded by members of sonnen Inc. and individuals from other organizations to oversee the implementation of humanitarian microgrids for relief following Hurricane Maria, announced the launch of the ‘Lighthouse Project.’ This initiative is a first-of-its-kind attempt to outfit 3,000 places of worship, community centers, schools and hospitals with solar + storage technology capable of empowering communities and serving as a beacon of hope in the face of hurricanes and power outages.

Commencing immediately, the del Sol Foundation–using energy storage technology coupled with rooftop solar arrays – will begin outfitting 500 sites located throughout the island. Microgrids installed during this first phase will ultimately be capable of providing services to up to 250,000 people per day. Planned microgrids at church locations will include a wide variety of assistive technology including refrigerators, air conditioning units, LED lighting, router and cell phone charging capabilities, hot plate cookers, washing machines, clean water filtration systems and even mini-pharmacies–all capable of 13 consecutive hours of operation per day. The entire fleet of 3,000 planned microgrids has the potential to reach 1.5 million people.

The Lighthouse Project is made possible through the charitable efforts and donations of many, starting with the faith-based community in Puerto Rico and its extensive network, which reaches the continental United States. Led by Pastor Anibal Heredia, founder of the Puerto Rico Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, these faith-based organizations are driving the adoption of renewables as a means of protecting residents of the island from power outages during future storms.

Pastor Heredia is widely-recognized as the architect of an expansive faith-based network that relies upon leaders identified and installed in each of the 78 municipalities throughout Puerto Rico. The Lighthouse Project has secured signatures and commitment from all 78 Faith Office Directors, as well as 700 signatures from Faith leaders across the island. Empowered by the prospect of lasting change, these Faith Office Directors will serve as managers for each outfitted religious center, and convene in September to discuss fundraising and deployment. It is this vision that will not only enable the use of technology for energy security, but will more importantly empower communities throughout the island to collaborate and develop these sites with inspiring strength and determination.

“Having spoken with so many leaders at religious sites throughout the island, it’s become clear to me that the work at hand represents something greater than just day-to-day energy use, but about working in unison to create a lasting infrastructure to support our people and the future of Puerto Rico,” said Heredia. “This project has truly become a movement for Hispanic people, the United States and hopefully individuals around the world to understand that no situation is so dire as to give up hope. In this crucial time, Puerto Rico urgently needs this project and we are counting on one another to ensure the vision comes to fruition.”

Another individual who has provided extensive support via his tireless commitment to serving the underprivileged and less-fortunate is Henry C. Lozano, deputy assistant to President George W. Bush, and director of the USA Freedom Corps. With an extensive network of high-profile donors and philanthropic individuals and organizations, Lozano has generated significant interest and attention throughout the continental United States as well as in Puerto Rico, where he has visited several times.

“I have been so honored and humbled to work alongside Pastor Heredia, members of the del Sol Foundation, and most importantly, the people of Puerto Rico, who have provided some tremendous inspiration to those fortunate enough to witness it,” said Henry C. Lozano, advisor to the del Sol Foundation. “Powered by the sun and united by a community vision, we will help these impoverished areas and our fellow Americans who inhabit them create a future they can depend on and be proud of.”

Similar to the previous 12 microgrid locations established by the Foundation following Hurricane Maria, new sites will be used for life-changing purposes such as shelters for refugees, kitchens, clean water filtration systems, community centers, schools, laundromats and more. An independently-managed 501C3, del Sol possesses a clear vision of providing “a hand up, not a handout” to Puerto Rican communities ravaged by storms and in desperate need of power. The technological capabilities enable citizens to become agents of change, fostering collaboration among some of the most disadvantaged communities in the United States at a time they needed support the most.

“I am truly honored to work alongside individuals such Pastor Anibal Heredia and Henry C. Lozano, among others from the Puerto Rican and mainland U.S. communities as we seek to build a ‘Lighthouse energy security shield’ for the people of Puerto Rico,” said Blake Richetta, president at del Sol Foundation. “Since the first donated microgrid last fall, the entire del Sol team has been inspired by the way those battling challenges far more difficult than our own came together to rebuild parts of the island. We have learned that solar + storage technology is simply the tool enabling local leaders and citizens to empower one another and lift up an entire community, creating an impact that lasts far beyond simple day-to-day energy, and serving as the future for the people of Puerto Rico.”

The general public is also encouraged to contribute to this groundbreaking vision for energy security, as the del Sol Foundation continues to solicit donations from people from around the world committed to supporting the intersection of technology and human empowerment taking place in Puerto Rico. The del Sol Foundation website donation portal can be found here:

News item from del Sol Foundation for Energy Security

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