Atlantic Medical Center, a 330 Primary Health Center in Barceloneta, recently completed the installation of a rooftop solar energy grid to prevent service interruptions to patients, the company announced.
Atlantic Medical Center, which serves more than 14,000 patients each year, installed solar panels that can withstand hurricane winds, and have backup battery storage, “which will allow health operations to continue smoothly during future emergencies,” executives said.
The system is already working and is the most recent to be installed in a group belonging to the 330 Primary Health Centers Network throughout the island, with the support of the Direct Relief humanitarian aid organization, and through funds from pharmaceutical company Abbvie. The Solar Foundation, the Clinton Foundation and Helmsley Charitable Trust also provided support for the project.
“For months after María, health facilities throughout Puerto Rico lacked reliable energy. The lack of electricity meant that there was no refrigeration for temperature or insulin-sensitive vaccines, there were no electrical medical equipment, and, in many cases, there was no running water,” said Leida Nazario-Lebrón, executive director of Atlantic Medical Center.
“The lack of electricity meant a lack of health services, but now thanks to this project we can guarantee continuity in emergencies,” she said.
In addition to providing energy backup in emergencies, the ongoing use of the 263-kilowatt photovoltaic system is expected to save the health center between $80,000 and $100,000 annually in electricity costs, the executive said.
Direct Relief began equipping health centers, clinics and community facilities in Puerto Rico with resistant energy systems that combine solar energy, battery storage and backup generators, allowing continuous operation even when power is cut off for days, weeks or months.
Direct Relief is investing $4 million in these systems, which will supply more than 1 megawatt of solar production capacity and 1.7 megawatts of battery storage. The installation in Barceloneta is the last to go online, executives said.