Bureaucratic inefficiencies on and off the island of Puerto Rico have left millions without power two months after the storm has passed. Estimates point toward another 6 months to a year before the island's inland residents regain power. Two South Florida natives and graduates of the University of Florida, Derek Schwarz and Garrett Robinson, have developed a better way to energize the island's central homes. Garrett, a business manager, and Derek, a mechanical engineer with 3 years of specialized work experience in power generation, have developed and tested the wiring, distribution and installation of a modular wind and solar powered energy units. The solution is now available but your help is needed to get to those who need it most.
Derek has traveled to the island numerous times since childhood visiting family and friends, while Garrett has developed several invaluable friendships and working relationships with people hailing from the island. It was because of their connection to Puerto Rico that these two young men decided to search for a better way to re-power the island: through sustainable wind and solar energy. Both founders' professional experiences have helped to formulate an affordable and effective plan to bring sustainable power to in-need Puerto Ricans in a timely manner.
How It Works:
The system developed by the project's founders has multiple components. Power will be stored within a deep cycle battery. This power will be generated by two sources: a wind turbine capable of 400W of charging capacity throughout the day and night. Another 640W capacity will be available during the sunlit hours of the day by use of 4 solar panels. All of this energy will channel through a charge controller, refilling the battery as it's generated. From here, the direct current of the battery will be converted to more accessible alternating current through an inverter. In this way, refrigerators, lamps, charging stations for laptops and phones, and even wall-unit air-conditioning units will be usable for those in need many months before power returns to these parts of the island.
Cost Per Unit:
Units will cost roughly $2,000 each after shipping and installation. A full cost breakdown is as follows:
- 1kW Solar/Wind Kit: $1,000.00
- 12V Deep Cycle Battery (x2): $260.00 total
12 AWG Flexible Wire (150 ft): $96.00
1.5 kW DC-AC Inverter: $250.00
MC4 Y-Connectors (x3): $25.50
MC4 M/F Pair (x9): $16.20
2' x 4' Plywood: $7.50
3" Caster Wheels (x4): $13.76
2" PVC (2ft): $7.20
1.5" SCH40 Steel Pipe ( 21ft):$92.00
50 lb Bag Concrete Mix: $6.00
15' Ratchet Straps (x4): $18.00
5 Gallon Bucket: $5.00
Truck Rental*: estimated $30 per unit
Shipping*: estimated $100.00 per unit
** Will vary depending on the number of units being funded for installation in one trip.
Will There Be Enough Power?:
A home in Puerto Rico requires between 8 and 12 kWh of power per day - roughly one-third that of an average American household. This means that most Puerto Rican houses can be fully powered by a 0.5kW capacity generator running 24 hours (.5kW x 24 hours = 12 kWh). Our system has a starting capacity of 1 kW power generation, with a daily accrual of 14 kWh under ideal conditions. Under less than ideal conditions, there is still sufficient power reserved in the batteries to continue to provide necessities (medical and otherwise), refrigeration, air conditioning and comforts for houses with elderly, young children or special needs occupants.
Are Conditions Right?:
Puerto Rico is noted for an abundance of solar energy potential, largely due to its proximity to the Earth's equator. The value of this resource has been further stated by companies like Tesla, who have already invested time and money into the establishment of solar power in Puerto Rico, and political figures who have called for solar establishment in Puerto Rico's new power grids. Wind power, on the other hand, is measured in Wind Power Density (WPD), which is divided into several classes (WPC). The proposed areas of set-up for this project are all categorized as class "3" WPC, meaning average sustained winds of 11.5-12.5 mph, which is fully sufficient for our turbine.
Set-up and Storage:
The entire system will be contained within the space alloted for the guy-wires that provide stability for the raised turbine. The solar panels will be laid within this area as well. As such, the spatial requirement for the system remains relatively low. A cemented sheath for a galvanized steel post on which the 20' turbine will stand will be buried underground. The sheath allows for easy removal of the system in the case of major storms. The guy-wires, tethered and cemented underground, will detach if needed, also allowing the unit to be easily removed and stored. The guy-wires will allow the system to withstand heavy winds and average storms.
Has It Been Tested?:
The system has been tested and re-tested by the project's founders. They have spent their own money on the first unit in order to fully construct, mount and ground the system before bringing this project to the public.
How Will Recipients Be Chosen?:
First recipients will be within the Sabana Grande region of Puerto Rico. This is an inland county with limited access by power companies and relief efforts. Estimations suggest a lengthy restoration process for this area.
From within Sabana Grande, recipients will be chosen on a needs basis. Those with special needs and medical concerns will be the first to benefit from this project. From there, homes with elderly occupants or very small children will receive relief.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions:
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