En Español



Very usefull links



PW
Bookstore





News links

AP

AFP

Aljazeera

Dow Jones

Oil price

Reuters

Bloomberg

Views and News
from
Norway

 

 

 

 

 

Solar energy saved a Puerto Rican farm from Hurricane Maria

 

 

 

By Hugh Bronstein, Gabriel Stargardter

BARRANQUITAS, Puerto Rico
Petroleumworld 10 05 2017

While his competitors wait for diesel to restart generators knocked out by Hurricane Maria, flower grower Hector Santiago is already back in business because of solar panels powering his 40-acre (16.2-hectare) nursery in central Puerto Rico.

The U.S. territory is in a near blackout, its electricity grid shredded by the storm that slammed into the island on Sept 20. But Santiago's decorative plant and poinsettia nursery, set amid the jagged peaks of the Barranquitas farming area, has kept working thanks to the $300,000 he invested in 244 solar panels six years ago.

“Everybody told me I was crazy because it was so expensive. Now I have power and they don‘t,” said Santiago, whose flowers are sold in Puerto Rico, at outlets like Costco, and throughout the Caribbean.

While Santiago's nursery was considerably damaged during the storm, many plants were destroyed and the roofs of some greenhouses blew off, he was able to regroup quickly, with electricity to keep pumping water from his two wells.

On Tuesday, as U.S. President Donald Trump surveyed damage elsewhere on Puerto Rico, some of the nursery's 19 employees were busy repotting damaged plants and cleaning up.

SOLAR OPPORTUNITY

Santiago's experience has left him hoping that Puerto Rico will begin relying more on solar power and other renewable energy as it looks to fix its damaged grid. That view has gained traction among some Puerto Rican politicians, though it is probably unlikely in the short run given the need to restore power as quickly as possible.

The experience of people like Santiago could drive more individuals and businesses to invest in solar power. Henry Pichardo, who runs a solar installation firm in the city of Bayamon, thinks the storm could drive up his business 20 percent a year. He said he has been inundated with enquiries since the hurricane hit.

“People are going to become more conscious of how they are living, and invest more in solar,” he said.

Santiago's business requires a high amount of energy. From May through August, he lights his greenhouses with a total of 2,520 electric bulbs from 10 pm to 2 am to stimulate plant growth.

Until Maria, Santiago sold excess electricity generated by his six by three foot wide panels back to Puerto Rico's now-defunct grid. In the storm, however, 25 percent of the panels were damaged by flying debris.

Still, he said, that was enough to keep the power on, and the nursery did not “have to worry about trees falling on the power lines.”



Story by Hugh Bronstein, Gabriel Stargardter ; Editing by Sue Horton and Grant McCool from Reuters.

reuters.com 10 04 2017

We invite all our readers to share with us
their views and comments about this article.

Write to editor@petroleumworld.com

By using this link, you agree to allow PW
to publish your comments on our letters page.

Any question or suggestions,
please write to: editor@petroleumworld.com

Best Viewed with IE 5.01+ Windows NT 4.0, '95,
'98,ME,XP, Vista, Windows 7,8,10 +/ 800x600 pixels

 

Nov 13-14 ;
Mexico City, Mexico

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOP

Contact: editor@petroleumworld.com,

Editor & Publisher:Elio Ohep/
Contact Email: editor@petroleumworld.com

CopyRight © 1999-2016, Paul Ohep F. - All Rights Reserved. Legal Information

PW in Top 100 Energy Sites

CopyRight©1999-2017, Petroleumworld ™  / Elio Ohep - All rights reservedThis site is a public free site and it contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of business, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have chosen to view the included information for research, information, and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission fromPetroleumworld or the copyright owner of the material.