Blog Post

Puerto Ricans Opt for Reliable, Fuel-Free Solar+Storage

When Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, its 3.4 million residents didn’t anticipate it would take nearly a year for power to be fully restored. “The lack of power is the root of everything,” Puerto Rico’s Secretary of the Department of Economic Development aptly stated, as the prolonged power outage for residents came at an estimated $40B economic cost. But beyond the overall economic losses are the very real hardships endured by residents as they went without the ability to communicate with loved ones, access important news updates, attend school, refrigerate food and all the other critical daily living activities for months on end.

To make matters worse, Puerto Rican residents pay double what mainland U.S. residents pay for electricity. The toll of being without power for such a long period of time combined with the extremely high cost of electricity on the island have driven growing numbers of Puerto Ricans, like the Oquendos and Santiago Arias Vega, to seriously consider eliminating their dependence on the utility altogether.

Erick Valentin, a resident of the town of Garubo, Puerto Rico, attempted to rely on his generator for the first few months after Hurricane Maria struck. However, he quickly realized how difficult and costly it was to obtain gas to refuel his generator during such a prolonged emergency. In addition to waiting in line for hours with hundreds of other Puerto Ricans, when he finally did find fuel to purchase, he was forced to pay four times the actual cost due to significantly higher demand. Erick decided to search for a cost effective, safe, and reliable source of electricity that would enable him and his family to continue with their day-to-day lives — regardless of prolonged utility power outages and fuel availability.

Erick was referred by a friend to contact Reborn Energy, a reputable, experienced distributor of renewable energy and energy storage solutions on the island, who recommended Erick install solar with a SimpliPhi AccESS energy storage system for resiliency. Reborn Energy and their installer network have successfully helped countless Puerto Ricans reduce or altogether eliminate their dependence on unreliable, fuel-based generators and the utility by installing SimpliPhi energy storage with solar.

Erick ultimately agreed with Reborn that an AccESS system was the best choice because “the AccESS comes with the most complete, 10-year warranty on the market; the flexibility to expand my storage system in the future; offers the best safety profile with lithium iron phosphate chemistry; and because Reborn Energy gave me confidence based on their vast experience with the AccESS.”

Jesus Santiago of Reborn Energy elaborated, “the SimpliPhi AccESS comes pre-programmed and wired so it is fast and easy to install, allowing our customers to benefit immediately. All over the island, the AccESS has been proven reliable time and again during power outages.”

Erick’s solar + DC-coupled, grid-tied AccESS system was installed by Solar Roots. The system consists of 7.6 kW of solar power — 20 x 380W of Canadian Solar panels, and one fully integrated AccESS, which includes 10.5 kWh worth of energy storage, one OutBack Radian 8048, and two OutBack FM80 charge controllers. Erick is also able to remotely monitor as well as control his AccESS featuring OutBack equipment with the  OutBack MATE3 and OutBack’s OpticsRE software platform, which Erick can use to switch between various modes such as backup power, full off-grid and sell-back mode.

While initially installed for resiliency in the event of either natural disaster-induced power outages or Puerto Rico’s other frequent power outages due to grid infrastructure failures, Erick opted to use his solar+storage system 24/7 to eliminate his electric bill. Erick also plans to eventually expand his SimpliPhi battery bank so that he can sell the solar he generates and stores in his AccESS to the utility through net metering.

Erick is thrilled that the AccESS has been able to meet all of his needs. He went on to say, “I’m so thankful for the AccESS, as it has provided me with complete peace of mind! I now know that my family will be able to continue living their day to day life uninterrupted, with everything from a working refrigerator to our TV and communications devices so we can monitor the news and communicate during a power outage. I’m ecstatic that I can also avoid weekly grid outages due to regular grid malfunctions, eliminate my electric bill, as well as eventually profit from selling the solar energy stored in my AccESS to the utility.”